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It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli

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Written and hosted by Marc Fennell, It Burns is the story of a 10-year scandal-plagued international competition that will take listeners from the Australian Coast to South Carolina (via an Indian Research Facility). It’s a war filled with larger than life characters. There will be sledging, accusations of cheating, theft and performance enhancing drugs. And allegations tha Written and hosted by Marc Fennell, It Burns is the story of a 10-year scandal-plagued international competition that will take listeners from the Australian Coast to South Carolina (via an Indian Research Facility). It’s a war filled with larger than life characters. There will be sledging, accusations of cheating, theft and performance enhancing drugs. And allegations that Australia was cheated out of a Guinness World Record. In the process of charting the scandal-plagued race to breed the world’s hottest chilli, the audio documentary lifts the lid on the subculture of ‘Chilli-heads’, hardcore chilli fans spread across the globe who compete in chilli eating and breeding competitions. The internet is filled with videos of grown men being reduced to tears by a square millimetre of chilli. The docu-series asks: what motivates someone to breed and eat a demonic nugget that is so hot it no longer has flavour? At what point does this stop being cuisine and start being an endurance sport? This humorous series shows that all this has never really been about chilli. It’s been about how people use pain to shape themselves, define themselves and make themselves feel alive. This series contains mature themes and graphic imagery, and listener discretion is advised.


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Written and hosted by Marc Fennell, It Burns is the story of a 10-year scandal-plagued international competition that will take listeners from the Australian Coast to South Carolina (via an Indian Research Facility). It’s a war filled with larger than life characters. There will be sledging, accusations of cheating, theft and performance enhancing drugs. And allegations tha Written and hosted by Marc Fennell, It Burns is the story of a 10-year scandal-plagued international competition that will take listeners from the Australian Coast to South Carolina (via an Indian Research Facility). It’s a war filled with larger than life characters. There will be sledging, accusations of cheating, theft and performance enhancing drugs. And allegations that Australia was cheated out of a Guinness World Record. In the process of charting the scandal-plagued race to breed the world’s hottest chilli, the audio documentary lifts the lid on the subculture of ‘Chilli-heads’, hardcore chilli fans spread across the globe who compete in chilli eating and breeding competitions. The internet is filled with videos of grown men being reduced to tears by a square millimetre of chilli. The docu-series asks: what motivates someone to breed and eat a demonic nugget that is so hot it no longer has flavour? At what point does this stop being cuisine and start being an endurance sport? This humorous series shows that all this has never really been about chilli. It’s been about how people use pain to shape themselves, define themselves and make themselves feel alive. This series contains mature themes and graphic imagery, and listener discretion is advised.

30 review for It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli

  1. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli by Marc Fennell and narrated by author is not a book I thought it would be. I thought it might be about the different contest, peppers, how they judge...I really don't know what I thought but this wasn't it. This book bounced all over the world finding the hottest chili peppers, the killers! Discussing why people love the pain and talking to dedicated Pepperheads to find out! Apparently there is more to eating peppers than a It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli by Marc Fennell and narrated by author is not a book I thought it would be. I thought it might be about the different contest, peppers, how they judge...I really don't know what I thought but this wasn't it. This book bounced all over the world finding the hottest chili peppers, the killers! Discussing why people love the pain and talking to dedicated Pepperheads to find out! Apparently there is more to eating peppers than a burnt tongue, running nose, and watery eyes! Who knew? This book talked to growers, champions, pain addicts, a dom, and more! Lets just say it was a whole lot more than I expected. I learned a lot. I also think these people are a bit sad.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karen ⊰✿

    It’s like a car crash. You can’t stop watching (or listening in this case!) This is a fascinating and compelling look into the world of hot chillies. Who knew there would be so much controversy, back stabbing and even death threats in this community! Told honestly and with humour, once you start you just have to listen until the end. Much more about humanity and communities than chillies, this is highly recommended listening and currently available for free on audible.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    I'm not a chili lover and I wouldn't have gotten this if it hadn't been free on Audible. I enjoyed it. Chili history and science, along with insights into human nature definitely made this one worth it. I'm not a chili lover and I wouldn't have gotten this if it hadn't been free on Audible. I enjoyed it. Chili history and science, along with insights into human nature definitely made this one worth it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Have you heard of Chilliheads? These people are nuts. Bonkers. Wacked in the head. Look at this, the really painful bit starts 8 minutes into it: https://youtu.be/9k-SBpElcWA Delightfully silly topic. Unless, obviously, you are a chilli head. In that case this is dead serious, mate! A fun playlist is further down. Shockingly, there are some shocking and disturbing parts in this narrative as well and not in a good way. The mentioned Ed Currie and breeding the Carolina Reaper: https://youtu.be/hrF3jVp Have you heard of Chilliheads? These people are nuts. Bonkers. Wacked in the head. Look at this, the really painful bit starts 8 minutes into it: https://youtu.be/9k-SBpElcWA Delightfully silly topic. Unless, obviously, you are a chilli head. In that case this is dead serious, mate! A fun playlist is further down. Shockingly, there are some shocking and disturbing parts in this narrative as well and not in a good way. The mentioned Ed Currie and breeding the Carolina Reaper: https://youtu.be/hrF3jVppfr4 The audio talks about trolling, fraud, the mental state of chilliheads... Amazing how much drama people can create around something that does really not seem all that important. Free from Audible, thank you! P.S.: I love the Aussie accent of the narrator. The audio was nicely dynamic, almost like a radio production. However, a few times the other speakers were not easy to understand and some of the background noises were not clear and made me wonder what was going on. It was fun to discover something completely new to me. Unfortunately it also led to me watching youtube videos of crazy eating challenges almost all day yesterday. :-) ————— Small sample playlist.... https://youtu.be/Dyrmfv0JbIU https://youtu.be/Mb-QVfwCmYg Jesus H. Christ on a motorbike. Yeah, right, not going to do that in a hurry. Laughing tears, seriously... Animals are more evolved than we are, right... lol.... Meanwhile, in England... https://youtu.be/1vVwIZnV5vw I was rooting for the guy on the far right... He was so nonchalant about eating those things... and then he was suffering, but soldiering on... Can you imagine the afterburn? *shudders* Pizza? https://youtu.be/6AiI1UcYSuY It‘s a lingerer! Mistakes were made! Lol. OMG, my cheeks are hurting from laughing so much. This guy is certifiable! https://youtu.be/tYbYa3HF2Hg Meanwhile, back in England... https://youtu.be/5nbGPCLfIYk Bon Appetit!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cori

    Four stars may be the highest rating I've ever given an Audible Original. I expected to learn some scientific information and fun trivia facts about peppers, and this was so much more. This digs deep into the psyche of why torturing oneself with dragon fire fruits took off in a blaze of fanaticism. Why would someone eat something that would cause them intense agony for hours on end? Why are the chili breeders in such sharp competition to get the title of "World's Hottest"? Marc Fennel goes to th Four stars may be the highest rating I've ever given an Audible Original. I expected to learn some scientific information and fun trivia facts about peppers, and this was so much more. This digs deep into the psyche of why torturing oneself with dragon fire fruits took off in a blaze of fanaticism. Why would someone eat something that would cause them intense agony for hours on end? Why are the chili breeders in such sharp competition to get the title of "World's Hottest"? Marc Fennel goes to the experts: breeders, eaters, scientists, psychologists, pastors, and even a dominatrix with a PhD. Along the way, we are treated to Marc Fennel's acerbic wit and the frequent sounds of people ralphing their guts out. The discussions also took suprising turns into discussion on deep topics. This wasn't a light, fluffy listen. The topics included everything from suicide and self-harm to conversations about God. Who knew the lil fruits could pack such a punch? I'd rate this a PG-13 for some mild swearing and adult themes (including conversations involving topics of drugs, sex, alcoholism, intense mental health discussion, and many other things).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    Welcome to the world of obsessive white guys burning their mouths to cleans their souls. This was a fun travelogue exploring the worlds hottest chilies but it also went deep. Why expose yourself to terrible pain for mild euphoria? Why are there so many ex-alcoholic/drug abusers in the chili community? Is the pain a sacrifice towards spiritual transcendence? My favorite chili is the Hatch and it’s currently Hatch Season so it’s in everything! These are fabulous if you ever get the chance. As a gene Welcome to the world of obsessive white guys burning their mouths to cleans their souls. This was a fun travelogue exploring the worlds hottest chilies but it also went deep. Why expose yourself to terrible pain for mild euphoria? Why are there so many ex-alcoholic/drug abusers in the chili community? Is the pain a sacrifice towards spiritual transcendence? My favorite chili is the Hatch and it’s currently Hatch Season so it’s in everything! These are fabulous if you ever get the chance. As a general hot food lover I have never partaken in the painful side of the equation but it does have me curious. I might slip in a ghost pepper into the grocery bag along with a tub of ice cream.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Henry

    An Audible original that I got for free because it seemed to be the best of a sorry lot of choices for the month. I finished it (just short of three hours), but it is really not too good. In fact a lot of it (people who choose to eat the hottest chili peppers in the world and post their excruciating pain on the internet), just deals with mentally ill people--they are masochists who enjoy pain for some perverse reason. While mental illness can be an interesting topic, celebrating it is not.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David

    Do you like mouth-burning pain? This Audible original is about chili peppers and the people obsessed with breeding (and eating) the hottest of the hot. Today's foodie culture includes those gastronomic sadomasochists who enjoy eating Ghost Peppers, Chocolate Habaneros, Trinidad Scorpions, and the reigning king of mouth-burning pain, the Carolina Reaper. A plain old jalapeno? 8,000 Scovilles. Tobasco sauce? 50,000 Scovilles. The Carolina Reaper? Over 2 MILLION Scovilles! Marc Fennell goes around the w Do you like mouth-burning pain? This Audible original is about chili peppers and the people obsessed with breeding (and eating) the hottest of the hot. Today's foodie culture includes those gastronomic sadomasochists who enjoy eating Ghost Peppers, Chocolate Habaneros, Trinidad Scorpions, and the reigning king of mouth-burning pain, the Carolina Reaper. A plain old jalapeno? 8,000 Scovilles. Tobasco sauce? 50,000 Scovilles. The Carolina Reaper? Over 2 MILLION Scovilles! Marc Fennell goes around the world to interview people who grow and eat hot peppers, including diving into the strange world of YouTubers who film themselves eating raw hot peppers and the effects of this (it usually involves tears, snot, and vomit). There is a bit of science, a bit of history, and some delving into the contest to raise the next Guinness record-breaker. (Pepper aficionados are extremely competitive and this leads to lots of ridiculous drama, accusations of cheating and collusion with labs, even death threats.) While I liked It Burns, it seemed like the author/narrator tried a bit weakly to link his pepper journey with other themes, like pain in general (he interviews a dominatrix!), the psychological torment of some of his subjects (the guy who bred the Carolina Reaper is a born-again former alcoholic and drug addict), and his own (he was a "fat kid" who still has an unhealthy relationship with food). I was really interested in the peppers, but not so much in the filler about various people's psychological issues.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Note: take the trigger warnings seriously I really appreciated that Fennell spoke to his issues with food, he was very honest and open and it was a strength of the book. It was short, free, and fairly interesting. That said, there were some great ideas that Fennell seemed to wish to discuss but didn't have the time, leaving the book feeling like it didn't stick the landing at the end. Ideas of community, relationship to food, addiction to pain, even the effects of the internet on what is basically Note: take the trigger warnings seriously I really appreciated that Fennell spoke to his issues with food, he was very honest and open and it was a strength of the book. It was short, free, and fairly interesting. That said, there were some great ideas that Fennell seemed to wish to discuss but didn't have the time, leaving the book feeling like it didn't stick the landing at the end. Ideas of community, relationship to food, addiction to pain, even the effects of the internet on what is basically an international gardening community, were all fantastic ideas that seemed to float around the story without being made thematic. It seemed like a missed opportunity. It also contributed to making this feel like it lacked the cohesion of even most podcasts. If Fennell expanded this work I would absolutely get it.... as it is, however, I'd give a 2.75.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liam || Books 'n Beards

    Like most people I imagine, I've gotten this free from Audible. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Marc's Aussie accent when I first started listening to It Burns, I went into it knowing literally nothing about it (other than the title), which I think was a good decision as I didn't go in with any expectations. As it was, it was a rambling, mostly aimless, but very charming and entertaining little adventure through the world of high-enthusiasm chili-heads. Recommended if you can grab it while it's Like most people I imagine, I've gotten this free from Audible. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Marc's Aussie accent when I first started listening to It Burns, I went into it knowing literally nothing about it (other than the title), which I think was a good decision as I didn't go in with any expectations. As it was, it was a rambling, mostly aimless, but very charming and entertaining little adventure through the world of high-enthusiasm chili-heads. Recommended if you can grab it while it's free - otherwise I'm not sure I'd spend a credit on it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rob Thompson

    'It Burns', delves deep into the cut-throat world of competitive chilli-eating. It also explores the race to breed the world's hottest chilli and deal with allegations that an Australian chilli-growing family was cheated of a Guinness World Record. And finally we discover how people manage pain to shape and define their sense of self and feel more alive. I thought this would be a quirky story about a few chilli farmers. But it turned out to be something far darker, personal and challenging. 'It Burns', delves deep into the cut-throat world of competitive chilli-eating. It also explores the race to breed the world's hottest chilli and deal with allegations that an Australian chilli-growing family was cheated of a Guinness World Record. And finally we discover how people manage pain to shape and define their sense of self and feel more alive. I thought this would be a quirky story about a few chilli farmers. But it turned out to be something far darker, personal and challenging.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a story of hot peppers, told through a personal lens of the narrator's difficult relationship with food. While I appreciated the personal aspect, I do wish that this focused more on science/psychology, rather than speculation and personal anecdote. This isn't to say that the story completely lacked the science/psychology perspective; that was definitely in there. However, I would have preferred if the narrative focused solely on it. This is a story of hot peppers, told through a personal lens of the narrator's difficult relationship with food. While I appreciated the personal aspect, I do wish that this focused more on science/psychology, rather than speculation and personal anecdote. This isn't to say that the story completely lacked the science/psychology perspective; that was definitely in there. However, I would have preferred if the narrative focused solely on it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This was not even close to what I expected when I bought it. It is very well done, however, and since it is a documentary done in audio form this means you cannot even see the thing they are talking about. But it does seem that you get a bit more of the emotion because of that same fact. You have to visualize everything which actually pulls you into the narrative even better. This is both researched, written, and narrated by Marc Fennell. This is the story of a 10-year scandal-plagued internation This was not even close to what I expected when I bought it. It is very well done, however, and since it is a documentary done in audio form this means you cannot even see the thing they are talking about. But it does seem that you get a bit more of the emotion because of that same fact. You have to visualize everything which actually pulls you into the narrative even better. This is both researched, written, and narrated by Marc Fennell. This is the story of a 10-year scandal-plagued international competition that takes listeners from the Australian coast to South Carolina (via an Indian Research Facility). It's a war that is filled with larger than life characters who want recognition and fame for the most part. But there are some who just want to be left alone to create their peppers without all the fanfare. Nothing spectacular but mildly interesting since I do like hot peppers.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jarek

    Relatively short but nevertheless entertaining and informative. It didn't change my life, but kept me entertained for a couple of hours. Relatively short but nevertheless entertaining and informative. It didn't change my life, but kept me entertained for a couple of hours.

  15. 4 out of 5

    David

    This short documentary was a free Audible offering. Probably because it intersected with an interest of mine, I really enjoyed it. It was very colorful. I had no idea there was a whole subculture of people who compete to see who can consume the most capsaicin before either their bodies or minds force them to quit. They were compared to alcoholics or drug addicts, and it seemed like a fair comparison to me. The narrator interviewed a dominatrix (with a doctorate in psychology!) who talked about wh This short documentary was a free Audible offering. Probably because it intersected with an interest of mine, I really enjoyed it. It was very colorful. I had no idea there was a whole subculture of people who compete to see who can consume the most capsaicin before either their bodies or minds force them to quit. They were compared to alcoholics or drug addicts, and it seemed like a fair comparison to me. The narrator interviewed a dominatrix (with a doctorate in psychology!) who talked about why people would subject themselves to that kind of pain. The phrase "pain and pleasure" was thrown out a bunch of times, which of course reminded me of a Judas Priest song. There was also a lot of discussion about the farmers who compete for the recognition of having the world's hottest pepper. Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised that half-truths and conspiracy theories were rampant since that seems to be a staple of life these days, but once again I was being naive.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Snorre Lothar von Gohren Edwin

    Again, Audible orignals deliver a good story! Just getting this type of insight on how the chilli world works is cool!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Jon Ronson-esk with chillies

  18. 4 out of 5

    Powder River Rose

    I enjoyed this audiobook and listened twice, once by myself and the second with my husband. We both found it a quite interesting subject and while the narration was very good, sometimes his voice dropped and the interviews with others were softer than his voice and then when the music played....well that was just rather irritating because it’s sooooo loud or distracting from the spoken word. Believe me, you will find out about an entire lifestyle based on Chili, some dark and some of unusual and I enjoyed this audiobook and listened twice, once by myself and the second with my husband. We both found it a quite interesting subject and while the narration was very good, sometimes his voice dropped and the interviews with others were softer than his voice and then when the music played....well that was just rather irritating because it’s sooooo loud or distracting from the spoken word. Believe me, you will find out about an entire lifestyle based on Chili, some dark and some of unusual and great interest. It’s short and I hope you take the time to listen...or read. X posted on Audible

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alan Teder

    Entertaining Overview of the Hottest Chili Peppers in the World Review of the Audible Audio audiobook (2019) This was entertaining and informative and also provided a bit of insight into the somewhat masochistic world of hot chili pepper eaters. Also note the cover image of a hot pepper wrapped in barbed wire, an extension of the 'heart in barbed wire' meme representing a person trapped in love. Image source = Wikipedia illustration for the article on the Scoville heat scale. It Burns was one of the Entertaining Overview of the Hottest Chili Peppers in the World Review of the Audible Audio audiobook (2019) This was entertaining and informative and also provided a bit of insight into the somewhat masochistic world of hot chili pepper eaters. Also note the cover image of a hot pepper wrapped in barbed wire, an extension of the 'heart in barbed wire' meme representing a person trapped in love. Image source = Wikipedia illustration for the article on the Scoville heat scale. It Burns was one of the Audible Originals free audiobooks for members in August 2019.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    (EDIT: Warning! I started eating more chilli peppers after reading this book. :D Did you?) The author, Marc Fennel, brings us around the world in the pursuit of the hottest chilli and many other spicy stories. Surprisingly, the story begins in Australia, where the previous record is held. The hottest chilli in the world until 2013 is called "The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T", and it grows in Central Coast (NSW). But then in suspicious circumstances, hotter chilli pepper is claimed in South Carolina ( (EDIT: Warning! I started eating more chilli peppers after reading this book. :D Did you?) The author, Marc Fennel, brings us around the world in the pursuit of the hottest chilli and many other spicy stories. Surprisingly, the story begins in Australia, where the previous record is held. The hottest chilli in the world until 2013 is called "The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T", and it grows in Central Coast (NSW). But then in suspicious circumstances, hotter chilli pepper is claimed in South Carolina (US) - "The Carolina Reaper". Many people think Australia is cheated out of the world record. This aspect is messy, and as you would suspect, there is no clear answer. Fennel is interviewing people from different sides of the story, chilli eating champions, growers, YouTubers, chilli heads and even a dominatrix. My favourite part of the book was the short history lesson of the chilli peppers and the fascinating subculture around them. As Fennel said, food is the most tangible connection with culture and history. Chilli peppers have a fantastic story to tell, and their story matches the story of modern civilization. They are an American continental original and were brought to Europe by Columbus during the colonialism time in the late 15th century. And in case you wonder why the chilli pepper plant is very different than the usual peppers, it's because he got it wrong from the beginning. Once in Europe, the hot peppers spread quickly in Spain, Italy and Portugal. The Portuguese brought the plant to Goa (India) where it spread further to Thailand, Vietnam and Korea. Most of these countries adopted the chillis and included them in their native cuisine. The Ottomans (modern-day Turkey) stole it from the Portuguese and started spreading them on their own. From Europe, the chilli peppers were brought to Africa too, and then they migrated with the slaves to the plant's native America. And so, chilli peppers have been to more countries than I have. :D The Tupi people (indigenous Brazil tribe) believed that when you die, two giant worms devour your stomach and the entrails of your soul. Then God drizzles chilli juice and the gates to the afterlife open. The Tarahumara (indigenous Mexico tribe) are also mentioned. They live at high elevations and are known to run over 100 miles in a day in rocky canyons. The way they catch dears and turkeys is they run them down until they get tired. And obviously, they love chilli too. :) It's not surprising that the plant was used as a medicine in the past. For example, the Aztecs used it for toothache. As you sense the chilli pain, your body starts creating endorphins. The pain disappears because the body tries to block the heat pain but also the muscle pain at the same time. They have also weaponized the chilli peppers. Not surprisingly, this continues today too. The pepper spray is just a high concentration of Capsaicin. What makes the chilli pepper hot is the Capsaicin, and their spiciness is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). It translates to how much sweet water it will take to dilute the chilli taste. The tabasco sauce is around 5000, which means 5000:1 sweet water to chilli ratio. Jalapeno pepper is 8000 SHU. Now imagine that the hottest pepper in the world is about 200 times more than the jalapeno. The question about the burning sensation is exciting - is it physical or our brain deceives us. It's a bit of both. There is an experiment - scientists removed the heat receptors of a mouse so it can not make a difference between a cold room and a hot room. With that, the mouse couldn't also make a difference between chilli peppers and other food. Sometimes the body can produce blisters as a reaction from a chemical burn. Fun fact 1: Birds have no heat receptors. You can have different symptoms after eating hot peppers - nausea, hiccups, stomach pain, acidity, vomiting, hallucinating. The Chilli-heads are hardcore chilli fans spread across the globe who compete in a chilli eating like it's an endurance sport. There is a whole genre in YouTube about this, and it has a lot of fans. But it's dangerous because of the irritation of tissues so you can have various medical problems after doing this. There is compelling reasoning in the book of why people like to watch such videos. The given answer is that we are fascinated by danger and by the dysfunctionality in other people. Fun fact 2: 200 years ago in the Battalion Royal Hospital, people used to go and watch the mad people as a tourist attraction. You would not believe it, but there is an interview with a dominatrix (a professional pain giver). She has a master and PhD in psychology and she tells us that her clients are not asking for pain but the mental experience. They want to surrender completely. The pain turns in euphoria (running a marathon or eating ridiculously hot chilli), and then the hurt becomes pleasurable. There is an art to escalate the threshold she says. Ed Curry (The Carolina Reaper inventor) has an interesting point asking why there is so much ego attached to this world? According to him, the problem with ego has to do with the internet. People don't have to be genuine on the internet. They can be whoever they want, and then they bring that in their real life. If you are still here and read this - according to the book, the hottest chilli pepper is in the UK. However, the growers gave up the competition and didn't claim the world record. They didn't want to get into the drama, frauds, cheating and even death threats in the chilli community. They simply want to grow their chilli peppers. Very honourable. It's worth mentioning that there are cases in which people cure their alcoholic habits, drug addiction and mental traumas with chilli peppers. Many people say it can give you the dizziness you get from the alcohol. To summarize, that's probably the best audio-documentary that I read so far. I learnt a lot about this curious topic. Marc Fennel also tells us part of his personal story and his bad relationship with food when he was a kid. I admire when people talk openly about their struggles because this helps other people to fight their challenges. He tells us that his Singaporean mum is putting Sambal sauce on everything. The Sambal sauce consists of chilli peppers, shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, and lime juice. It does sound delicious. I've added it to my "to-taste" list. Marc Fennel has structured this production exceptionally well. Furthermore, he has a lovely Aussie accent and a charming, enthusiastic voice. Last but not least, there is music between the chapters which supplements the fantastic experience the book gives you.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Awesome journey by Audible and Marc Fennell. Captivating and unique. I had no idea it would get as heavy as it did. I loved hearing the authors feelings on how his research related to his own struggles with food.

  22. 4 out of 5

    LeeTravelGoddess

    It wasn’t interesting to me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karissa

    I got this for free as an audiobook from Audible Originals. It was okay and I learned some interesting things about peppers and the crazy people who like to cause themselves pain with them. I didn't think the book was especially humorous, it also took a weird turn a few times as it explored how hot food and religion are linked. Another weird digression was taken when Fennell decides to visit a dominatrix to explore people's addiction to pain (this short little bit is what makes this an adult boo I got this for free as an audiobook from Audible Originals. It was okay and I learned some interesting things about peppers and the crazy people who like to cause themselves pain with them. I didn't think the book was especially humorous, it also took a weird turn a few times as it explored how hot food and religion are linked. Another weird digression was taken when Fennell decides to visit a dominatrix to explore people's addiction to pain (this short little bit is what makes this an adult book and was somewhat divergent in my opinion). I kind of felt like this was only here for the shock factor or something. In the end Marc tries to tie all of this craziness back to his own issues with food. Which was kind of like, uh...okay whatever. Overall, some of the history around chile peppers is interesting. I thought the whole controversy around the hottest pepper issue (which is what the story is focused on) was silly. The interviews were well done and the audiobook was well put together. All in all this was a mixed bag. It was kind of interesting and a bit silly; I got it for free so I can't really complain.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    When I was living in Mexico it would drive me crazy how everybody would assume that I'd eat spicy food. I went to restaurants and clearly ordered food with no chilli peppers, only to be told, after I complained of the outstanding amount of jalapenos, how "it wasn't even that spicy." Servers, other patrons and even the people eating with me looked at me like I had grown a second head... how could I enjoy bland food? This all made me wonder what could possibly make a person, a whole country want t When I was living in Mexico it would drive me crazy how everybody would assume that I'd eat spicy food. I went to restaurants and clearly ordered food with no chilli peppers, only to be told, after I complained of the outstanding amount of jalapenos, how "it wasn't even that spicy." Servers, other patrons and even the people eating with me looked at me like I had grown a second head... how could I enjoy bland food? This all made me wonder what could possibly make a person, a whole country want to suffer while eating? This Audible Original answers that question. But these "chilli-heads" are not from any of the countries known by their spicy food. These are Americans. I still don't understand it, but the race to grow the hottest pepper is a fascinating look into a subculture that I didn't even know existed.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Altivo Overo

    What drives people to compete with each other over growing (or eating) the world's hottest peppers? What is the seedy underside (pun intended) of that business? Fennell has it covered in this study of the business, as it has been driven to madness by internet exposure over the last decade or two. An interesting listen or read, though I honestly have to admit I'm looking from the outside in. Nothing there that I could much identify with, for sure. Interviews with growers, technical experts (inclu What drives people to compete with each other over growing (or eating) the world's hottest peppers? What is the seedy underside (pun intended) of that business? Fennell has it covered in this study of the business, as it has been driven to madness by internet exposure over the last decade or two. An interesting listen or read, though I honestly have to admit I'm looking from the outside in. Nothing there that I could much identify with, for sure. Interviews with growers, technical experts (including a poison specialist,) and consumers. Well-researched, certainly, but quite a bizarre business overall.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bill Shannon

    A surprisingly entertaining listen that's somewhere between a long podcast and a Jon Ronson subculture expose. Who knew the world of hot chili peppers was so contentious?? Much better than most of Audible's mediocre nonfiction fare. A surprisingly entertaining listen that's somewhere between a long podcast and a Jon Ronson subculture expose. Who knew the world of hot chili peppers was so contentious?? Much better than most of Audible's mediocre nonfiction fare.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Stewart

    Really enjoyable deep dive into an eccentric subculture I didn't know existed. Pain is the name of the game, and apparently so is cyberbullying, addiction and intense competition. Really enjoyable deep dive into an eccentric subculture I didn't know existed. Pain is the name of the game, and apparently so is cyberbullying, addiction and intense competition.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    A long form Audible podcast into "chiliheads" that descends too far into indulgent navel gazing. "It Burns" tells an interesting, if brief, story about aficionados of super hot chili peppers and some of those seeking to grow "the world's hottest pepper." Obviously any hobby that involves ingesting painful amounts of chili peppers attracts some interesting folks. And they're interviewed here, including the grower of the Carolina Reaper, a YouTuber that routinely does what might be described as "st A long form Audible podcast into "chiliheads" that descends too far into indulgent navel gazing. "It Burns" tells an interesting, if brief, story about aficionados of super hot chili peppers and some of those seeking to grow "the world's hottest pepper." Obviously any hobby that involves ingesting painful amounts of chili peppers attracts some interesting folks. And they're interviewed here, including the grower of the Carolina Reaper, a YouTuber that routinely does what might be described as "stupid chili stunts," and the owner of the world's largest hot sauce collection. The narrative struggles however in its attempt to psychoanalyze these folks. Narrator Marc Fennel ends up interviewing a psychiatrist and linking his own issues with food and being a "fat kid." He also interviews a dominatrix about why people seek pain. Fennel discussing his own childhood issues feels self indulgent and the dominatrix portion is needlessly titillating. Like an attempt to "spice things up" - ironically.... The history of chilis and science behind them were ultimately more engaging. Another shortcoming is that the appeal of hot chilis, if you're not eating yourself, is watching others attempt it. It's as much a visual experience as it is a taste experience. The audio format lacks that and the story suffers for it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nate Adams

    Pretty interesting and entertaining short listen. Would recommend.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fahed Aln

    Finding pleasure through pain?

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