Monday, June 7, 2010

I want a little cayenne in my bowl

Just finished reading a biography of the late singer Nina Simone, Princess Noire: The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone, which was tumultuous indeed. No one could crawl inside a song the way Nina could and stretch it out into something new and arresting. The book chronicles her rise, coast and slow crumbling, with her barking at the audience all along. Good read.

Near the end, this anecdote about a curious preparation of tea:

Michael ... worried that a difficult moment was getting worse. "Then I started gushing about how much I loved her music over the years and what a great honor it would be to make music with her." Michael knew he had rescued himself when Nina offered him some of her tea. He graciously took it and immediately choked. Nina had a special concoction that called for lemon and cayenne pepper. "Oh, please, cayenne that could kill us — enough cayenne that if you took a sip you really couldn't breathe for a few minutes. I was sweating, my head was on fire, and I thought I'm going to die from drinking tea."

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