Today I whipped up a batch of "picante chicken" flavored ramen for lunch. Afterward, while profusely sweating and picking flakes of red pepper out of my teeth, I remembered a bit of advice given me by a Mexican-American lady with whom I used to work. When you've had more "hot and spicy" than you can stand, and you want to cool down fast, the trick is not to drink an entire pitcher of beer in one gulp (though that can be fun). For fast relief, eat something starchy. This is why a side of fries goes so well with an order of hot wings; why a mound of white rice is always welcome alongside a plate of Kung Pao chicken; and why, when the complimentary dish of salsa at your friendly neighborhood Mexican restaurant proves to be set on "stun or temporarily cripple," the remaining basket of undunked tortilla chips can be a Godsend.
I happened to have such a Godsend today, having snacked earlier on some leftover beandip and tortilla chips. I was thankful for the leftover chips, as the stick-to-your-teeth pepper from the ramen was still on the ascending slope of the "cumulative potency" curve, and I was starting to feel like that Peter Lorre-ish guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark just before his face melted.