There is no condiment in the world like hot sauce. It is naturally addictive and potentially deadly, depending on the amount of capsicum present and how much one consumes. It’s exciting, like an action flick or extreme sports. It’s sexy, as evidenced by the myriad names slapped on strangely phallic bottles like “Cock Sauce,” or “Red Hot Lovin’.” Nothing gets me hot and bothered like hearing the seductive Spanish names for the star ingredient, like “Habañero,” whose sultry squiggly line dances atop the “N” like a 1950s pin up girl’s bouncy curls grazing her shoulder.
Hot sauce is as diverse as the people of this great nation. Since chili peppers are native fruits of the New World, it would be wrong for us to not love hot sauce. The plethora of styles and flavors of this genre of condiments is a testament to the the inherent democratic traits of hot sauce.
So now you’re hungry and you’ll probably dash to the the Caf and exhaust its supply of Frank’s. Good for you. That’s how I survived my first year at this fine institution. But how about flexing your own culinary muscle? Make your own. Be a champ. A monkey can do it. It’s called harissa or chili sauce depending on whether you’re in Africa or Northern Europe, and it’s sinus-clearingly delicious:
Chop roughly 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes and reserve 1/4-1/3 cup of the oil from the jar. Mix that with about five tablespoons of tomato paste in a bowl. Add red pepper flakes to taste and then adjust the other ingredients to preferred consistency. It should be chunky but not a glue.
Eat it. Breathe like you never breathed before. Salute America.