Devil’s Breath? Moi?


People often complain that I’m too mild-mannered in my personal appearances — that they want a real fire-breather. Well, my solution arrived as a gift in the mail today: a selection of fine fire-breathing aids from, including a spectacularly vivid t-shirt with that appropriate logo on it. Next talk I give, you should sit in the back row.

Alas, this might make Skatje cry. She likes her food bland, but I’m going to have to sneak a little of the chile relish or the hot sauce into pale, tasteless, limp food — and then she’ll look like the picture!


  1. Dustin says

    My biggest problem since moving to the midwest has been finding anything with any kind of flavor in it.

    Are habaneros a controlled substance out here or something?

  2. stogoe says

    She likes her food bland

    Aye, she seems to be growing up a proud, traditional midwesterner. At least food-ways.

    As for ‘flavor’, there’s plenty of flavor. It’s just not “boil your tongue hot” as the only option.

  3. speedwell says

    Whereas I’m the brainwashed Texan who puts hot sauce on breakfast. I wasn’t always this way, though. However, I know native Texans of Mexican extraction who won’t touch a jalapeno with a ten-foot pole. It’s just an individual thing. Chillax. :)

  4. Rupert says

    For most of my adult life to date, I avoided what I thought was ‘too much chilli’ – mostly because my family regarded Tabasco as the Russian secret service considers polonium: entertaining when taken by others, but best avoided in one’s own soup. Also from a certain prejudice that it was linked with macho overindulgence (odd, in retrospect, given my attitude towards other things. Let’s not digress).

    About five years ago, I decided to experiment. Now, I’m hooked. There is pride to be taken in the world’s hottest chilli pepper coming from a rural English farm, and there is much enjoyment in endorphin avalanches. And the hiccuping is, mostly, under control.


  5. Dustin says

    It’s not the world’s hottest. The Dorset Naga is, if the Scoville scale is worth anything, pretty much the same as a Naga Joloka… and that’s because the Dorset Naga is still a Naga Joloka. With a few years breeding, maybe, but they’ve only been growing them for about 4 years now — it’s hardly its own variety yet.

  6. Kagehi says

    Snort! What, when confronted with food Skatje pulls a Vulcan and says, “I’ll just have the plomeek soup and a glass of water.”? Seriously though, the hottest I am willing to go myself is usually peppercinis, unless its “in” something, in which case I don’t mind the heat in Kung Po (as long as I actually get rid of all the big chunks of peppers) or halepinos when in the chimichungas from the mexican place we go to (though that is almost a bit hotter than I like). Some of this stuff people eat though… Yikes!

    Had one Mexican who we knew, and owned a restaurant we ate at, who used some habeneros in some of his dishes (almost none of them), but **mostly** kept them around for the some other Mexicans that came in, and did nothing but eat them, drink beers and wipe sweat from their foreheads. He thought they where completely insane, but heh, they where willing to pay for it, so… lol

    And the hiccuping is, mostly, under control.

    What about the spontaneous combustion and the gallons of water than runs down your face while eating? lol

  7. craig says

    off topic. sorry, but I have to say BLEH.

    Just switched off from Air America Radio where Thom Hartman was arguing that atheism is a religion.

  8. says

    Being of San Antonio birth, I have the life long love of the noble chili in ll its permutations (there are hundreds if not thousands). All this crap about these hyper, macho, inedibly hot sauces is simply culinary posturing. If the spice kills the flavor, it does you no good. I have a bottle of “Pete’s Insanity sauce” in the larder, but only use it in some Thai dishes in very small amounts. Mexican and Tex-Mex have their table sauces, and they are mostly mild onion/tomato bases flavored with cilarnto and chilies. Now I’m drooling on my keyboard.

    Chili, the meat & chili stew, can benefit from extra heat, but can be rendered inedible by a loony cook with a bottle of ultra sauce.

  9. Kurt says

    As the sender of the material to Dr Myers I actually vouch for the product as being aimed for flavor before heat as the main goal.

    I’m not a fan of hot sauces in general for the reason Bert mentioned – lots of heat at the expense of flavor, or simply overpowering the heat of the food. The chile relish mentioned above, in my opinion, does a very good job of being *very* tasty with an added level of heat that adds to the enjoyment of the dish. And it’s simply a killer addition to bratwurst. :)~~

    – Kurt

    P.S. – And the logo is a killer. My T-shirt gets a lot of looks when I wear it out and about on weekends.

  10. David Harmon says

    Well, I think Tabasco and Goya hot sauce are pretty wimpy, but that doesn’t even put me in scorching distance of the halapeno chompers! I occasionally try to cook with fresh jalapenos, but I keep macing myself from the prep. (“%^&$#@! I must not have washed my hands well enough… where are those tissues?”)

    Mostly I use Oriental hot oil or chili powder if I want to add punch, but I’m not embarrassed to just stick with paprika either. (Paprika is in the same family — much milder, but very good for flavor and color.)

  11. David Harmon says

    Bah, “halapeno” should have been “habanero”, I clanged it off “jalapeno”. ObHot: There’s also a traditional Vietnamese hot sauce that they use as a table sauce, but I find hazardous in excess.

  12. Marc says

    I find the different chiles good for different things; for instance, chipotles infuse a lot of flavor, while habaneros give food a nice sweetness in addition to the (somewhat overblown) heat factor. I find I really like habanero-based sauces for this sweetness — one called ‘Religious Experience:APocalypse’ a friend bought was quite nice in adding sort of an adobo base that made it great on tacos!

    The Thai sauce popular among asian immigrants is generally known by the rooster logo, and called ‘hot cock’. I do not recommend asking random immigrants if you could taste their hot cock sauce, however.

  13. ngong says

    Having lived the last 10 years in Thailand, I can drink those sauces from the bottle. Supposedly, capsaicin doesn’t degrade very fast, and some of those sauces do have very high capsaicin content, but they still don’t compare to a hard-core dish of som-tum. A lot of those sauces are based in oil…perhaps that masks some of the potency.

    There’s nothing macho about it over here. Women are just as likely to glom on prik-ee-noo (mouse shit peppers). It’s more like a desire for some added intensity in the gustatory experience

  14. Hipparchia says

    I like the peppers and sauces that give you a false sense of heat. Now, when the pepper is too hot- or too strong, I guess, I get a false sense of coldness and numbness on my tongue.

    This is when all other tastes and flavors are killed.

    The best level is nice warmth/heat on your tongue plus a little bit of pain. When it starts feeling cool and numb, it’s too much of a good thing.

  15. Who Cares says

    I prefer this site. Although I was not nuts enough to go and buy the pure capsaicin bottle.
    I do agree with the people that you don’t want to eat stuff that just burns. I should be just hot enough that it (almost) tingles which in my experience increases the sensitivity of my tongue and nose. That said I’ve over the years noticed that I need more and more hot in my food to get to that point.

  16. says

    Gotta love the hot stuff.
    But you have to be careful sometimes, David [#14] get yourself some gloves. Reminds me of the story of a mate who was cutting some very hot chillies, had to go to the bathroom, quickly rinsed his hands. Didn’t rinse them well enough did he? (all the boys say OW and cross your legs)

    We get some of our sauces from here: their motto “Support Global Warming”

  17. says

    As the creator of these recipes I can assure you flavor comes first. I have spent 15 years ordering and growing varieties from all over the world, looking for just the right combination of flavor and heat. My biggest complaint is hot sauces that are nothing more than hot vinagar, with no flavor whatever.
    Despite the logo, our products would not qualify as massively hot. This being our first year in business, I wanted to present products that would be more universally acceptable. Next year we will be producing some quite hot sauces, (and a killer firehouse steak sauce), but each and every one will be a special blend of peppers specifically created for flavor. And all our products are 100% organic, (that’s real organic, not government organic).

    Bill Barker

    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable” JFK

  18. David Harmon says

    Marc: OK, that got me Googling… Indeed, most folks mentioning it do consider it a Thai rather than a Vietnamese sauce. Its maker, Huy Fong Foods (which calls it “Sriracha” sauce) is too canny to limit their market, and they’re here in America!

    Besides their sauces, they’ve also provided a nicely “KISS-compliant” website — no true online ordering, but they make mail-order as easy as they can. I will be ordering a sample pack.

  19. speedwell says

    Wow, the markup on Sriracha sauce (this is the sauce I use on my eggs in the morning) is severe. Just ordered a case. Thanks!