The Bad Parent Chronicles: Mommy's Sorry She Maced You, Baby

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Would someone please tell me how it is that you cook any dish with red pepper flake in a hot pan without macing your kitchen?

Really, I need help here folks.  Because I've done it at least four or five times now--each time following a recipe that insists I put a pinch of red pepper flake in a pan of hot oil.  (The quote about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results comes to mind....)  I promise that I really am only using the amount the recipe calls for...I have the pan set at the correct temperature....  

But as I was making this lovely blistered cauliflower the other night, ever so quickly my throat started to burn.  And then, from Sweet Husband in the dining room, "Um honey, are you heating up red pepper again?"  And then from the Kiddo the saddest two little coughs and a bewildered look.

At which point the house was abandoned in favor of dinner in the backyard.  Then--just to make sure everything was good and aired out--a stroll downtown for coffee and a Toy Store visit.  (I maced the Kid...figured the least I could do was get him a new toy.)

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The walk was very nice...but truly, can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong?