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  • John Flores

Tastebud Torture Tuesday

“I think I can make it to level seven based on talent and nine by determination.”

Happy Tuesday, Oddacious readers! Last week’s terrific Tuesday draw was Tastebud Torture!

This challenge was one of the more anticipated Tuesday events, and the Odditeam was excited to have finally drawn it. It was so anticipated that Eva made us promise not to have the challenge while she was on vacation. And the timing was perfect; when she returned to the office, we drew this card.

Truth be told, while many Odditeam members were excited to do the spicy challenge, some were more than a little nervous. Rest assured this story has a happy ending. There was no forced participation or injuries.

The spicy challenge box consisted of eleven “levels” with an increasingly hot sauce each level. Eva had also brought in her own hot sauce as a bonus for those with taste buds of iron. Each sauce was to be “enjoyed” on a bland conveyance such as crackers, chicken nuggets, or tortillas. No rigid rule here; if you are willing to subject yourself to the challenge, you can’t pick your poison, but you can pick your method of delivery.

A quick pre-challenge survey of the team revealed the varying levels of terror and trepidation. Monica was most concerned and considered anything past Level One a win. Noah thought he’d hang on a bit longer and was determined to make it through Level Four. Sarah and I were both confident we could make it past nine, and I was going to do it without drinking anything. Salina, Eva, and Chris were expecting to make it through seven levels. Though Chris suggested that he’d make it through Level Seven “on talent” and to Level Nine “by determination.”

Monica anticipating the start of the challenge.

Before we begin, a quick PSA from Noah: “Please remember not to touch your face or eyes during the challenge.”

Feel the heat: Challenge accepted!

Level 1 to 5: These sauces were surprisingly palatable and enjoyable. The Odditeam was caught off guard with the Level 1 sauce as it had some kick to it. It created the base spice level of the challenge and we all looked at each other wondering if this was a joke. But as we got closer to Level Five, we were all surprised and took note that the following four sauces weren’t as spicy as Level One.

Level 6 to 8: These levels were also enjoyable. I did observe that some of the Odditeam members had begun sweating at this point and the challenge was beginning to ramp up. Levels five to eight included the famous habanero pepper that prepared us for what came next. Monica had tapped out at Level 8 with a self-surprised, “I didn’t know I would make it to this level!”

Level 9 and 10: These two levels short...HOT! These two sauces were made from the notorious and incredibly spicy, Carolina Reaper. Some team members expressed that, “these are some of the hottest sauces I have ever tried!” and “I don’t know if I can make it to the next level.” As beads of sweat began to drip down the sides of our faces (and noses), those that had not tapped out yet were determined to finish the challenge. We all collectively looked at each other and knew that the last levels were going to be excruciating. We all cheered for one another to finish these two levels. Remember Noah’s note at the beginning of the game? Well, he had forgotten his own note and had “accidentally” touched his eyes after Level Nine. At this point of the challenge, Noah had begun to feel the heat coursing through his stomach and eyeball. (He was fine afterwards...I think.)

Level 11: The last level labeled as the “bowels of hell” was strangely not as spicy as Levels 9 and 10. Level 11 came in a daunting miniature drop bottle and was made from the Carolina Reaper as well. Though the spice was there, it wasn’t as spicy as we all thought it would be. My guess was that our tongues were probably numb by that point and we weren’t aware of how spicy the sauce “was”. Chris at this point had decided to drop a couple more drops of the hot sauce straight into his tongue because: 1) he’s fearless, 2) couldn’t believe it, and 3) “wanted to double check.”

Bonus Round: The “Last Dab” also included the Carolina reaper and it did not kill our precious taste buds. It was a nice way to end the challenge as it was on par with Levels 9 and 10.

Challenge Results:

As you can see, we were able to surpass our pre-challenge judgements. Based on my observations, we were able to make it through the spicy challenge with the support of each other and the influence of determination in the room. I heard lots of “you can do it!” and “I’ll do this with you if you need someone to be there for you!” We relied on each other to make it through each level, and it was a sight to see.

Through determination and a little bit of perspiration, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. We hope that you enjoyed our Tuesday blog this week and we can’t wait to see you again next week for a brand new Tuesday event! Take care and always remember, to be #OddaciouslyDifferent!


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