Sometime back in high school, my friends started to notice my little habit of dousing most meals in whichever hot sauce I could get my hands on. They joked about how hot my meals were, and quickly decided to see where my tolerance for heat actually fell. A batch of fresh habeneros (the hottest pepper available in a rural Wisconsin grocery store) was brought into the lunch room, and a contest began. The rules were simple: eat a habanero. Several proud young men took a moderate bite out of the peppers and immediately tried to hold back their coughing and wheezing. Many ran to buy milk, others ran to try to throw up, and others just sat there crying a little and pretending they weren’t in agony. I, having never had a habanero, popped it in my mouth and started chewing. My, what delightful pain and flavor washed over my mouth! I couldn’t believe it. This painful experience was exhilarating, but also delicious. Of course, everyone was amazed and joked about how my mouth must be a dead hole, since I obviously felt less pain than the other boys.
I still don’t know if I felt less pain, or if I’m just the weird one who enjoyed it. Either way, the challenge was complete, and I would live on in infamy as “the guy with the Deadmouth”, periodically performing party tricks for other teenagers’ amusement. I don’t get quite the same pleasure out of eating the superhot varieties of peppers out there, but I do love their flavors and try to find as many unique hot sauces containing their crazy heat as I can. I’m always looking for new sauces to try and new companies to talk to.
What are your favorite sauces or companies? If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments. If you want to send me some samples, I’d be happy to review them. Or, if you’ll have me swing by for a tour of your kitchen and operation and help with a batch, I certainly won’t say no!