Sometimes you take little risks, and sometimes they go horribly wrong.
I am an unfailingly creative, dedicated cook, so every week I try to make a meal out of tortilla chips and fat. The greatest risk I ever took and biggest regret I have as a cook was using a bag of corn chips mendaciously named “Hint of Lime.”
You know how you keep eating something, because you are so grossly appalled by the flavor that you cannot believe it’s actually as bad as your taste buds are swearing? These chips and I embarked on a destructive relationship. My husband, after sampling them, sounded like a cat about to cough up a fur ball. He continually stuck out his tongue, like his mouth was trying to banish it for treason.
A hint of lime? Oh no, no! These chips were plunged against their will into a boiling vat of lime oil. Doused in lime juice at the tortilla chip prom in front of all their corn chip classmates. Persecuted by hints of lime for days, maybe weeks.
I vowed not to use them for our meal, but some snuck in with the regular tortilla chips, and so help me, I don’t know how it happened. All I do know is my husband was asking in horror, “Did you use the lime chips for our nachos?”
I was sure I hadn’t. Maybe the atrocious flavoring was like the blood on Lady Macbeth’s hands, never to be washed off, and so I had ruined our meal with my contaminated fingers. But the flavor was there, indubitably.
After a few minutes of tense eating, I said, “It’s so bad that you’re just grateful when you put a nacho in your mouth, and there’s no hint of lime.”
“I know, right?” said my Man, swigging beer to neutralize the harmful, lingering effects. “I just had a plain one, and I was so relieved.”
We survived our meal. Honestly, I don’t know how. And as I was clearing the dishes, I said, “I’m going to have to toss the bag. I can’t eat those. Nobody should eat those. In fact, they’re so bad they could be used as a CIA torture device.”
Inspired by this imagery, I began to describe a dark room, a single bright lamp trained on the face of a man with his hands tied behind his back. On the rough table before him a bag of “Hint of Lime” chips is slammed down by shadowy men in suits. Then the threats start.
At this point in my plot-weaving my husband broke in with abundant gagging noises, playing the part of the prisoner. Then he switched roles abruptly, pointing a menacing finger and declaring, “And that was just one chip! Next time it’s going to be TWO!”
I fell over the dining room table in a fit of hysterics. Matthew thought I was suffering delirium caused by exposure to unnatural flavoring. It may very well be true. Effects of lime poisoning have never properly been tested.
Hillary Ibarra is the author of The Christmas List. She has had several humor pieces published online, most at the incredible humorwriters.org. In 2020 she hopes to return to Dayton, Ohio, for the amazing Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. Find her personal blog at Hillary Ibarra: loving, journeying, writing.