2015 has started off a bit rougher than in previous years, with January featuring a couple of the worst sauces I’ve had the misfortune of tasting, both of them so bad, the bottles were immediately ejected. It takes realistically around a score of 6 or so for me to consider a sauce a repeat buy, with very few deviations, so when reading this blog, that’s a good criteria to judge whether or not to pick up a bottle. This year, so far, it has taken into March to hit a 6 overall and to get even some of the criteria elements as high as a 9. The current highest scoring sauce this year so far is a 7. If this trend continues, it will make me very nervous about picking a sauce of the year. In point of fact, it actually already is making me somewhat anxious. On the other hand, maybe I was just extremely fortunate in years previous.
As noted, I’ve been back, or rather was back until a fairly nasty cold that involved sore throat agony hit for almost all of February, on a sauce tear (had to clean out very few bottles from the fridge without consuming them first), doing a nice job of driving my capsaicin tolerance, reasonably high to begin with apparently, back up. This is a trend I can only hope continues as I really missed that part of things. I’ve, again, moved into another dietary phase (or was, rather, prior to that bout of illness – I have it in mind to resume after a business trip in early April), in an attempt to be more healthy, as my earlier plan of resuming my former somewhat hardcore gym rat lifestyle appears to not be in the cards as I’d hoped. That plan was to resume once my son could join me in workouts, but I don’t think I can wait that long nor really go at it with the same approach. My goals, indeed, are not the same as what they were and rather than shooting at the bodybuilder and/or modified strongman type of workouts and general lifestyle (which I had trouble focusing on, even then, given my penchant for so many other interests), I’m now shooting for a much rounder life-extentionist sort of vibe, as I haven’t ever really tried that one on for size.
To be a bit more specific, I eat out a lot, as in daily or more. My diet would never fit into anyone’s definition of “good”, though I try to do the best I can with what choices I’m making. Part of what I was doing was not only eating entirely vegetarian, NOT vegan, but also raw after getting home from work. It was working remarkably well until whatever virus hit and struck me down and I will resume that once things settle down somewhat at my work with a position shift undertaken by yours truly. To accommodate family life and my interests and not take too hardline of a stance, which would not be ultimately sustainable, I’m restricting this to weekdays only and leaving weekends mostly wide open, though I’m also trying to keep a handle on that as best I can.
Part of all of this journey, into hot sauce, into wines, into various restaurants, into lifestyle changes, is really a trek of knowledge, to understand oneself better, to recognize various loves and interests when they appear and to be able to not only share those with the world, such as I do here, but to be free enough, unhampered and unencumbered enough to explore those to the heart’s content. In doing these things, we hopefully find ourselves becoming happier in the process, but even if not, information is a valuable end as well.
I said in the last sort of update that I wondered if I was going to hit 100 hot sauce reviews and now, with the first quarter tally here in, it seems a foregone conclusion that I will this year, probably well before the end of it (I’m at 88 as of this writing). To celebrate that milestone, perhaps I will go back and re-add all those hot sauce bottle pictures that have not been present…or at least as many as I can find. I will say definitely that there will be no other pictures other than those, though, which are still most definitely a maybe. Do you need to see sauce that comes in a clear bottle in a spoon or on food? There is a complete glut of food porn online already without me contributing to it and those pictures add nothing, in my estimation. How about a critique of the bottle labeling? Does that matter to any of you and in what way? Graphics and advertising either work or don’t, in all cases almost immediately, but it’s entirely subjective. Does my opinion (or anyone else’s) on the paper stuck to the glue stuck to the bottle matter?
Not for me, it doesn’t, which is why you’ll rarely see me discuss it, aside from some of the actual advertising copy and/or claims on the bottle and typically only when they’re notably contradictory to my actual findings. If someone devotes space to it in their own hot sauce writing, I generally don’t bother with it, as I find that line of subject entirely useless. When I come across pictures of sauce on food elsewhere, that’s the first thing I skip past.
I'm interested in suggestions and if you have any or commentary on what you may want to see, drop me a line. I’m still pretty open, minus the boring and/or pointless parts I just mentioned.
That aside, I still haven’t quite decided what I ultimately want to do with this or the other blog (that one will never get pictures, due to the facet of wine being so predominated by year listings on the label), other than keep them going, I guess, until they run their natural course. I think they will do well, even without active contribution, as archives, which was sort of the spirit of intent anyway. We’re still a ways off, probably at least a year for the wine blog and likely longer for this one, from that discussion being either appropriate or necessary, of course…
One exciting thing, to me, is the proliferation of hot sauces available on a local level. There are easily 3 or 4 times the amount there was when I started this blog, in a much wider range of heat, in a much wider range of retailers. Sometimes, however, this will manifest itself in discolored stock, if proper rotation is not observed, but for the most part, this is a very welcome and happy change and one that I take advantage of as often as I can…which may, at least partially, explain the increase in reviews.
Spicy food is unquestionably taking over the mainstream and sauce is leading the charge. When Taco Bell, which had their own “hot” sauce for quite a while, delves into those stupid red Frito-Lay snack foods as part of their garbage offerings and then further dives headfirst into the Sriracha pool, things begin to approach critical mass. I don’t view this direction or trend, if you like, as either good or bad, as much as something that just is. Given that most people consider Frank’s an actual hot sauce, instead of the shit it is or the fact that Tabasco and if you’re really lucky, Cholula, are about as far as most restaurants get with bottle sauces and given also that most people are woefully inadequate to a heat escalation war, hopefully we just get this as a way to enhance flavor rather than as a gimmick, perhaps some more interesting menu items. I don’t see this leading to a proliferation of actual chileheads (but probably tons of posers) or it diluting the market and quite possibly, if it persists, there may be some real benefit as sometimes happens once something both gains steam and gets some money behind it. Time will tell, I guess…as it tends to do.