I've been rewatching all the Little House episodes with my 10-year-old daughter. We are on season nine. Anyone remember the episode in season six when Almanzo comes to town and Nellie offers to cook him dinner? She can't cook, so she enlists Laura to make Almanzo's favorite dish: cinnamon chicken. Laura has a crush on Almanzo, so she sabotages the meal by replacing the cinnamon with ground red cayenne pepper. Nellie and Almanzo take one bite of the dish and they go running for the water.
Fast-forward a couple of decades. We aren't on TV, but I am making chicken paprikash, the Hungarian chicken stew made with plenty of sweet paprika--or so I thought. I accidentally grabbed the--you guessed it--ground red cayenne pepper and added the prescribed 2 tablespoons to the simmering chicken. I guess my first clue should have been the coughing my family did as they fought the airborne pepper on their way to the dinner table. Three out of four of us managed to eat the meal with liberal glasses of milk and dollops of sour cream. I only realized my mistake halfway through dinner after my husband kept saying, "I didn't realize that paprika was so spicy."