Note to self: jalapeño peppers and contact lenses do not mix. Over the years I have lost my contacts in the usual ways (tore with fingernail, rinsed down sink, and so on) but leave it to me to discover a new, foodie technique for accomplishing the task. I was making a sugo of beef and tomatoes to put over some good pappardelle from A.G. Ferrari (the kind that's nice and rough on the surface so that the sauce bonds to the pasta). I decided to pull an Emeril and "kick it up a notch" by adding some jalapeño.
I grabbed a single, medium sized pepper, sliced it lengthwise, and scraped out all the seeds with the tip of the knife (to cut down on the fiery spice -- after all, I was aiming for zesty Italian, not Thai style). I minced up the jalapeño, stirred it into my sauce, and didn't give it another thought. Fast forward many hours later when I was getting ready for bed and experienced an exquisite burning sensation in my eyes as I removed my contact lenses (I was ready for Emeril to burst into the room saying: "Bam!"). Turns out that although much time had passed, and I had seemingly done plenty to rub off the jalapeño oils (washing my hands at least a dozen times over the course of the day, cooking, cleaning, addictively using my Treo, etc.), I still had fingers o' fire. So I went to bed with smarting, watery eyes. But the real punchline came the next morning, when I tried to pop my lenses back into my eyes -- yes, it was Return of the Jalapeño as I realized that the pepper oils were now a permanent feature of my lenses. I checked the label of my Opti-Free Express Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution and sure enough, the product does not claim effectiveness against chili oils (anybody from Williams Sonoma reading this? Huge market opportunity here!). So it was that another pair of lenses bit the dust. C'est la vie.