I have a confession. I'm addicted to hot sauce. Now I've admitted it, I can begin the recovery programme.
I'm enrolling with Capsicumists Unanimous. It's a six week rehabilitation regime, boot camp style at a secure facility on Bodmin Moor. Run and operated by ex-special forces Colonel Jonty " Doreen" Half-Nelson-Hyphen (Retired). The six-step programme focusses upon issues such as "How to grow and nurture the perfect handlebar moustache" , " The practicalities of ownership , maintenance and general running costs of a Jaguar XK 120" and "Eligibility of the Balmoral Malt Whisky Society".
Above photo depicts a selection of hot sauces I have consumed in recent months graded in strength left to right from weak to insanely hot.
Bottle #1 is the pathetically mild and ironically titled Maggi Extra Hot Chilli Sauce. It's basically a mildly spiced ketchup. An all purpose tomato sauce. Put it on your chips or put it in the bin, it's all the same.
Bottle #2 is Bramwell's Sweet Chilli Sauce. Again another inoffensive condiment. Slightly hotter than #1, but still ok for your Granny...
Bottle # 3 is the slightly more interesting Nandos Hot Peri Peri Sauce. Flavoursome and with that all important "bite" that all hot sauce connoisseurs demand. Now we are going places.
Bottle #4 is the intriguingly titled Walkerswood Seriously Hot Jamaican Jonkanoo Pepper Sauce.
Who am I to argue with such a richly descriptive label. It is hot, refreshingly so. A good no-nonsense table sauce guaranteed to bring a cheer to the blandest of dishes and a reassuring glow to the cheek of even the most porcelain-skinned dinner guest. Bravo Messrs Walkerswood Caribbean Foods Ltd.
Bottle #5 is the cheekily packaged Cholula Hot sauce replete with a picture of a contented Senora and satisfyingly packaged with a wooden bottle top. Simple words cannot express my admiration for this Mexican delicacy.. Is it hot I hear you cry? All I can say is : "Ayuda!"
Bottles #6 and #7 need no introduction. #6 is a limited edition Diamond Jubilee sauce and #7 is the Habanero variant. A challenging duo indeed and not for the faint of heart. Huzzah!
Finally, our journey into the fiery caverns of conflagrationary (!) condimentitude (!!) reaches it's capsicumicable ( I think I've overstretched it now) climax with Bottle #8. Are you ready for this? ( I have actually broken out into a sweat just thinking about it ...talk about Pavlov's Dog Ha Ha!
Even the title gets the Hypothalamus gyrating:
Blair Presents Zakk Wylde's Shot to Hell Berserker.
The label warns to keep out of the reach of children and that it must be diluted to taste.Fair play I say. fair play. This is the Daddy of sauces and not to be confused with "Daddies" sauce. This is how hot it is.....Take a regular culinary fork and dip one prong into the tiniest smear of sauce. Put it on your tongue and after a few moments you will enter a world of strangely euphoric discomfort, one that lasts just far too long. Iced water or chilled beer offer no comfort. You simply have to " Ride the Pain" as my high school gym teacher chummily quipped ( see School Daze). In moments of frivolity I have been known to pour a good dollop of this Satanic brew onto my platter of Chilli-non-Carne knowing damn well that I will endure a troublesome time of it and spend a good ten minutes drumming my finger on the dining table and thinking about whatever happened to Jack Parnell or the actor who played "Brains" in the 70's British TV kids show" The Double Deckers" as a means of distraction. That usually works.
What will Jonty make of it one asks ones self?
Goodnight one and all and as my great Aunt Maude used to say " Be condiment cautious young man and you will go far" That probably explains why at the age of 52 I clean toilets for a living.