SPB contributor T is a global traveler. In visiting countries he’s a fan of music (that is the Scene Point Blank focus), but also a wide range of arts, which included the hot sauces that share spicy flavors and carry a bit of culture in a bottle.
Goodness in Bottle Form: A Hot Sauce Tour
Table of contents:
The burning sensation.
More than mere food.
Now, claiming that I got a weak spot for chili would be an understatement. Victory Records, a label that was home to many of the most prominent hardcore bands in the 1990s including the likes of Integrity, Strife, Hatebreed, and Snapcase, had a “Singles Club,” which released limited edition special items only for club members.
While I was heavily into Integrity and some of their label mates that derived from the cookie cutter formula of what hardcore was supposed to be in the 1990s, what interested me much than any of their musical releases was that for whatever reason -– probably coming down to the personal preferences of its owner Tony Brummel –- Victory Records started a side branch: a mailorder for hot sauces. Hot as in “if you use more than a few drops, it will burn a whole in either your tongue or the pot you are cooking with.”
While what is considered to be “the scene” might lament the route Victory Records and their roaster of bands has taken since, I am still looking for a label that would bring the heat not only on the musical front but also when it comes to culinary delights.
Hot sauces are a staple. There is a myriad of hot sauces out there. Novelty ones. Tasty ones. Sugar laden ones. Ones with a great label art and hyperbolic names but with the content lacking in all departments, especially with the rise of hipster BBQ and burger joints.
No, it is not just about the heat. Heat just for heat’s sake is a novelty concept. If you feel like riot control pepper spray grade sauces, do not waste your time reading this further and go mess with the popo at a rally instead to get your fix.
See, I for one enjoy hot sauces.
Caliente por favor.
As in, I am committed –- not unlike Beyoncé who confessed to have hot sauce in her bag swag.
I do not discriminate when it comes to what hot sauce can be put on: avocado, eggs, popcorn, yoghurt, oatmeal, baked apples and pears, fruit salad, hummus, brine, cake batter, and pretty much everything else. Have fun with it. With a good hot sauce, you simple cannot lose!
Flavour and character of a sauce are key.
Chili peppers are a delicacy and they deserve better than to be merely reduced to their pungency.
Different hot sauces fulfill different needs and there is no “best one.”
There are high in vitamin C, containing bioflavinoids, antibacterial qualities, antioxidants and most importantly capsaicinoids, the most prevalent chemical in chili peppers.
In layman’s terms, capsaicin (a vanilloid), tricks the nerves and sends a temperature warning signal to your brain, which triggers the production of sweat in a bid to cool itself down.
It irritates the membrane in the nose and causes the production of more mucus as a defense mechanism. Other side effects might include stomach cramps, redness of exteriors, heartburn and glands along the gut wall secreting more fluids, which can ultimately result in diarrhea.
In other words, your body views capsaicin as an offensive, dangerous substance that needs to be evacuated pronto.
The aforementioned effects form the basis of the Scoville scale:
Wilbur Scoville developed the scale in 1912 to measure heat level in chilies, i.e. the pungency: the greater the number, the hotter the burn.
Endorphins are a class of neurotransmitters similar to opiates in that they are a strong analgesic and give a sense of happiness. Hot chilies cause the release of endorphins.
Let this feature introduce you to the hot sauces of the land down under. No spice-o-meter, just quality brands with great flavours that you might have never heard of and that I have come to appreciate.