Narrator: Marc Fennell
Published by Audible Original on April 15, 2019
Genres: Non-fiction, Food
Length: 2 hrs 52 mins
The Internet is filled with videos of grown men and women reduced to tears by a small taste of chili. The audio show It Burns asks: What motivates someone to breed and eat a demonic nugget that is so hot it no longer has flavor? When do chili peppers cross the line from artisanal cuisine to endurance sport?
It Burns shines a light on the subculture of "chili-heads," hardcore fans spread across the globe, from the Australian coast all the way to South Carolina (via an Indian research facility). In an outrageous world filled with larger-than-life characters, there are accusations of cheating, theft, and performance-enhancing drugs; some aficionados even allege that Australia was cheated out of a Guinness World Record.
Writer and host of It Burns, Marc Fennell is a household name in Australia where he is noted as a film critic, technology journalist, author, and radio and TV personality. Marc Fennell’s fact-filled and humorous documentary proves that the competition isn’t really about chili; some people feel the burn as a way to challenge themselves, to define who they are, and to feel more alive.
I am not a fan of hot things. I don’t like my salsa above medium, I avoid jalapenos. I am a wuss when it comes to spicy things. But It Burns was one of the free Audible Originals this month and for some reason the app was having trouble downloading the book I actually used a credit on. (I finally got Bleak House downloaded. It’s going to take forever to listen to – 45 hours. Anybody out there love it?)
Apparently, the pepper business and the whole hot pepper community is crazier and more cutthroat than I would ever have guessed. It’s a whole world that I never knew existed. This audiobook is short, under three hours, but full of people hurting themselves and finding themselves through peppers. It’s really rather fascinating in a dark, bizarre way.
Marc Fennel narrates It Burns, but it’s not a traditional book. We get to hear his interviews with growers fanatics, even his mom. His style is friendly and easy-going and he talks a bit about his personal life too, his struggles with food over the years. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t make me want to go out and buy hot sauce.