[Vocabulary] 20 alarm

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maiabulela

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Dear all,

A chef is competing a fire station cook in Chicken cacciatore and he says:
"I think this throwdown is gonna be a 20 alarm"

What is the meaning of 20 alarm here?

Thanks.
 

Barb_D

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Was this one with a fire station cook, by any chance?

If you have a "three-alarm" fire, it means that fire crews from three different stations had to respond. It was a big fire.

Sometimes we use this for food. Three-alarm chili, for example, is really spicy chili.

A 20-alarm fire would be a huge fire. A metaphorical 20-alarm chili would be so hot I know I could never eat it. A 20-alarm throwdown means it's a big, big competition. It would be funny if the setting were a fire station.
 

Ouisch

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I can't even imagine something called 20-alarm chili....what is the purpose of such an inedible dish? By that point the chef is not concerned with flavor but rather how much pain he can inflict on those brave few who dare to try it. I tried someone's 5-alarm chili at a contest once and amused a small crowd of onlookers as my eyes watered, my tongue protruded and I gasped for air like a beached trout after the first swallow. :shock:
 
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