Kevin’s friend Ana is a Thai chef, and she grows her own peppers in
pots for the sauce she makes. When she found out that Kevin’s new wife
was a gardener, she brought me one dried pepper. I split it open and
started the seeds, since you’re supposed to start peppers and tomatoes
indoors and planted them out, and they did terribly and I was convinced
I’d killed them all.
I don’t mind killing plants for the most part–gardeners slaughter
plants right and left, it’s part of the process–but these were special.
She’d brought them from Thailand decades ago, and you can’t exactly go
out to the nursery and buy a beloved variety given as a gift to an old
friend’s wife. So I was sad. I also hadn’t started any other peppers
this year, because I didn’t want them to cross-pollinate.
And then Kevin looked in exactly the right spot and there it was. One
of the ones I’d planted out and which had turned to a tiny, dying
nubbin, and I had given up. But I hadn’t planted anything else in that
planter, in case the planter was the problem, and apparently it pulled
through and has been quietly growing all this time.
Kevin ate one and turned colors and assured me that yes, it was one
of the Thai peppers. If I dry all these, I might get enough seeds to
grow them with slightly less panic next year.