Tag Archives: Hot Sauce

Of Salt, Tabasco and Civil Wars

Here’s an interesting story of how salt was involved in the creation of the Tabasco brand Tabasco sauce, care of Salt:A World History

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Edmund McIlhenny was a Marylander who moved to New Orleans in 1841 at the ripe old age of 26. By the time he was 42, he owned 5 banks in the Crescent City, making him a relatively wealthy individual. This afforded him the opportunity to hob nob with local politicos and others within the power elite, include one Daniel Dudley Avery, a judge from up the road in Baton Rouge.

Now the good judge had two items that are intergral to this story. First, he had a daughter by the name of Mary Eliza. Mary Eliza must have gotten along famously with Mr. McIlhenny, as they were married to one another on June day in 1859. Edmund was 43 at the time, Mary Eliza was 21.

The second thing that the Judge Avery had in his possession was a sugar plantation located on Petit Anse, located some 140 miles west of New Orleans. With New Orleans being on the hit list of Union objectives during the Civil War, the Avery’s and McIlhenny’s decided it was best to stay away from the conflict and settle in at the plantation, hoping to ride out the war in relative peace.

Things were going as planned until early in May of 1862, when a slave hit solid salt whilst trying to deepen a brine well. Suddenly the families realized that they were sitting on both a valuable resource and a military target. Salt was in short supply in the South, and was near a vital commodity for both civilian and military applications. They decided to sell the salt to the Confederacy.

Soon the Union knew about the salt domes in the area, and made their presence known. This forced the families into Texas, away from their plantation. By April 17, 1863, the new salt works were destroyed.

By the end of the war, the Judge’s finances were intact, allowing him to purchase the rest Petit Anse that he didn’t own, where it was renamed Avery Island.

The McIlhenny’s did not make out so well. Having been paid in now useless Conderate bills, a great amount of their fortune had been lost. Edmund looked for a way to recreate his wealth. After meeting a man by the name of Gleason, who told McIlhenny about a small red pepper and the need for said peppers in the cuisine of the area. Being a quick study, McIlhenny returned to Avery Island to become a farmer and to create a regular source of the sauce for the locals.

Using the salt from the island to ferment and extract juices from the red peppers he had grown, he was able to mix those juices with white wine vinegar and create the Tabasco brand as we know it today.

Technorati Tags: Food, Salt, Food History, Tabasco , Tabasco Sauce

A Hot Sauce for Bloggers

How cool is this? Nick of the world renown Hot Sauce Blog has made and is selling his own brand of Hot Sauce. The kicker? All proceeds will go to charity!

Over $5 from the purchase of each bottle will go to help the American Cancer Society to make a difference in the lives of people touched by cancer. Donations help fund programs of research, education, advocacy, and service, which are leading toward the ultimate goalâ??the elimination of cancer. Every donation counts, so why not get yourself a bottle of hot sauce as well?

Head over the Hot Sauce Blog and buy yourself a bottle!

Technorati Tags: Food Blog, Hot Sauce

The Cult of the Hot Sauce

I don’t pretend to understand everything surrounding the food world. People who have to have every happy meal toy? I don’t have any idea what their motivations happen to be. Those who folks who save beer cans? I have no clue what’s on their mind. People who let food magazines sit around for months on end?

Okay, I understand that.

But there is a group of folks out there who I can appreciate, but I certainly cannot understand their level of passion. I speak of those who love hot sauces.

You may think you love hot sauces. But trust me, the fire that motivates these folks is a step beyond. They have their own blogs, their own secret society, and they hold special festivals.

I want to fully understand, I truly do. But the names of these products make it difficult for me to take them too serious. Take a gander at some of the names I found for some sauces:

  • Colon Blow “A Red Habanero Enema”
  • Show Your Tits Hot Sauce
  • Ass Blaster Hot Sauce
  • Rectum Ripper XXX1/2 Hot Sauce

I don’t think myself a prude, but I am going to think twice before I pick up a bottle that says “Rectum Ripper” anywhere upon the bottle, hot sauce or no.

But hey, that’s just me.

I understand that a great many of these similarly named hot sauces are novelty items, and not really produced with…ahem… good taste in mind. Some folks out there are keen to simply mix up some seeds with a vinegar sauce and call it “Oh-my-god-your-intestines-are-going-to-fall-into-the-septic-tank brand Hot Sauce”® and send it off to Spencer’s gifts. The question for me is: How do you find a good hot sauce without dealing with the fakes and hacks of the hot sauce world?

The trick, as with any produced product out there, is to look at the label and see what tastes intrigue you and go from there. A recent trip to a Kitchen store produced these two products:

D.L Jardine’s Blazin’ Saddle: Made with Habenero Peppers, Carrots, onions, Lime juice, vinegar, Garlic and Salt.

Scorned Woman Hot Sauce: Vinegar, water, peppers, lemon juice concentrate, salt, black peppers and Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, and Sodium Benzoate.

The winner of the two? From where I was sitting it was The Blazin Saddle by a long shot. But that’s strictly my own opinion.

There are at least two things that are at play within the Cult of the Hot Sauce, taste being one. The other is how hot the sauces can get. This all comes back to the capsacin we talked about previously, When that capsacin hits your tongue, it sends pain signals your brain. Your body, in order to deal with said pain, releases endorphins which then causes a mild euphoria. Mix good flavor with a bit of eurphoria and you have a decent Friday night going for you.

My point here is that there’s a bunch of silliness out there in the hot sauce world, but there’s a fair amount of great stuff out there, if you look for it. The cult can be your friend. In fact, one can say that theyve already blazed the trail.

Technorati Tags: Food & Drink, Hot Sauce, Chiles