Eating Hot Peppers For Fun And Glory

Gregory Foster holds the Guinness World Record for most Carolina Reaper chili peppers eaten in one minute. Photo by Fred Baumgarten

It’s 5 p.m. and the stage is set for the main event. The competitors are called out one by one and stare down a paper tray of chili peppers, the color of which are almost impossibly, brilliantly scarlet — like lipstick.

These are no ordinary peppers. They are Carolina Reapers, the world’s hottest, rated at about 1.5 million Scoville units, the standard measure of hotness. You read that right: million. Your average run-of-the-mill jalapeño is a few thousand.

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