Internet Flames: My Hot Sauce Collection

Dead SoldiersYou’ll never catch me flaming someone…unless my mouth is on fire.

In my twenties (ah, youth!), I started liking hot sauce. Wellll, I developed an affection for hot sauce. OK, obsession. I put hot sauce in or on almost everything I ate. I used one packet of hot sauce on each bite of a fast-food burrito. I discovered lots of sauces that were not just heat, but flavor.

I started collecting the sauces from vacations and specialty shops. I had tasting notes on various sauces and different dishes for using chipotle versus habanero-based sauce. I didn’t collect full bottles anymore- I saved empties. Why let those wonderful sauces sit unused??

I grew my own peppers. I learned that peppers are hotter if watered less frequently so my garden was a desert. One day, I decided that it would be fun to eat one of my habanero peppers whole. These things are about 300-400 times hotter than jalapenos, by the way. I chomped down on the pepper’s tip, the least-hot part of the pepper. Hmm, not bad. Delicious flavor and needle-like heat. I decided to go for the hot part- veins, seeds, all of it (ah, youth!).

The flavor disappeared behind searing heat. My mouth watered uncontrollably. Standing alone in my kitchen over the sink, my mouth watering like a leaky faucet, I groaned from the delicious pain. Oh, it hurt. Oh, it really hurt. But the experience was worth it.

I recently read a blog about simplifying life and focusing on things that increase rather than decrease her family’s pocketbook. My hot sauce collection is not a big money drain, but it does cost money and even more, it costs time to maintain and precious space in my home. I haven’t looked at the collection in three years other than pulling out a bottle to use. It has sat in a dark closet wasting space.

Now, I don’t grow my own peppers. I trade a few bottles of my homebrew for a neighbor’s freshly grown peppers and homemade sauce. Less waste, less cost, and it builds a friendship too.

My collection is growing more and more into a bunch of empty bottles. I used up these two bottles in the picture and was going to write up tasting notes, clean them, and add them to the collection. But it wasn’t worth my time. I don’t need those bottles anymore. So I rinsed them and put them in the recycling bin. This weekend, the rest of the ~150 bottles are going in the bin.

It’s such a small, small thing. But it represents a little piece of me. I used to have the time to do it and now I just don’t. My job is more demanding; my family is more demanding; I’d rather spend the time with friends and family, not polishing some bottles of a collection that nobody sees but me. It is the right thing to do but it just reminds me that I’m not so young and free anymore.

3 thoughts on “Internet Flames: My Hot Sauce Collection

  1. Where’s the picture? You should get one of the recycling bin full of the bottles.

    I know what you mean. I’m able to let go of things I saved that I used to never think I’d be able to release. Maybe I just enjoy the purging act more than the memories now, or maybe I’ve become ok with saving a picture and repurposing the saved stuff.

    You could always see if anyone on Freecycle or somewhere online wants an empty hot sauce bottle collection…

  2. Have you ever tried this seasoning? You know a lot of times hot stuff isn’t necessarily well-spiced but this is great! I discovered it on Spring Break in Gulf Shores, AL one year.

    P.S. I’m a total spice wuss so this may taste bland to you.

  3. ACD: Picture is updated, sorry for not linking it already. I’m not sure I feel like bothering to Freecycle because they’re empties. Plus I’m a wee bit lazy (maybe that’s the real reason).

    Mymsie: That stuff is tasty, but not hot. I like the spices a lot but I’d add some cayenne!

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