The Day My Nose Caught Fire

Beware of cruise ship buffets. You may have an adventure you didn't count on.

Taking a cruise to Alaska was the top adventure on my “bucket list.”  Little did I know, my most dangerous adventure would be making a dreadful mistake at the afternoon buffet.

I had just filled my plate with an assortment of veggies and was feeling righteous that I had not succumbed to the siren call of more fattening dishes. As I moved down the buffet line, I noticed what I thought was a bowl brimming with fresh, creamy, greener-than-green avocado. 

I placed a whopping spoonful on the edge of my salad and moved on down the line to pick up other delights. The food on cruise ships — at least this one — was abundant, varied, and delicious.

I sat down to enjoy lunch while chatting with my traveling companion.  I skewered some salad on my fork, dipped it into what I thought was avocado and stuffed it innocently into my mouth.

In a second, I felt the burning in my mouth and flaming fumes in my nose as it slowly burned its way through the insides of my cheeks and edged toward my throat. I unceremoniously chucked the burning food from my mouth into a napkin and thought about drinking some water.

I decided not to do that in case it would move the fire down my throat and into other delicate regions.

“What the h---“ just happened I rasped to my friend.

“ I think you just ate some wasabi,” she said.

“I thought it was avocado.”

“Did you see some sushi nearby?  That should have given you a clue.”

“That stuff should be outlawed like mustard gas was in WWI,” I exclaimed hotly trying to resume my composure while eating a piece of bread to cool down the burn.

Wikipedia describes wasabi as a Japanese horseradish with an extremely strong flavor more akin to that of a hot mustard.

Tolerance for hot, spicy food is not part of my gene makeup. Although members of my family enjoy the fact that they break into a sweat when they eat salsa — I’ve always been an onlooker. I believe if we were meant to eat hot spicy food, then we would have been born with asbestos-covered tongues.  

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Analisa Harangozo June 20, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Oh man, Suzanne! My eyes teared up just reading about this experience.. it must have been painful!
Linda June 20, 2012 at 11:05 PM
That's right up there with the horseradish grating contest at the Tule Lake Horseradish festival!


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