Day 355: Too Much Hot Sauce

We’re so over-fed in this country that pockets of wierdos have started brewing sauces with the sole intention of causing oral and intestinal discomfort. Hot sauce makers compete over who can scare their customers more. It’s a redneck poetry slam where the name with the most alliteration wins. I don’t care how clever it is (not very), I’m not putting “Birmingham Butt Burner” on my eggs.

Usually we plop comfort food on top of comfort food. Sheppard’s pie is the gastronomic equivalent of a Lazy-boy recliner.  It’s the opposite with hot sauce; we use that stuff to torture ourselves because we’re also a country of macho gluttons who spend Sundays in the parking lots of football stadiums combining over-eating with pain endurance. “Eat this! It hurts!” Discomfort food is uniquely American.

You like dem creamy grits, boy? Don’t be a sissy! Cover that soupy mush in some “Columbine Colon Confusion” and yer farts’ll burn a hole in yer Wranglers ‘fore half time.” 

Maybe it’s more complicated than that. Ingesting hot sauce might fill a subconscious need to self-flagellate. Catholics go to confession, while others repent by ingesting chemical lava – pick your poison, I guess.

It must be a subconscious emotional balancing act of some kind. It’s physically impossible to enjoy something so terrible. Aren’t humans hard-wired to stay away from foods that do them harm? It’s the primary reason we kill animals before eating them.  “I eat my chickens live, ’cause I like how they claw at the inside of my throat goin’ down,” are the words of a sick, sick man.

Try this experiment if you don’t believe me: put hot sauce on your dog’s food. He’ll never trust you with anything again. Watch him frantically lick the sofa to exorcize his tongue of the poison you tricked him into eating. Look at him. Really look at him; his big, sad, confused eyes are saying, “I thought you loved me.” He might even commit suicide just to get away from you. You think animals don’t commit suicide? Have you never seen one eat hot sauce? Ok then.

I could understand the craze if the sauces were medicinal or resulted in a thick buzz. But  just the opposite is true; it’s harmful and makes you sick (on purpose). Unless you think sitting on the toilet eating sour dough bread dipped in ice water is a party, stay away from the ANALize This XXX Garlic Hot Sauce.

Yes, I realize I sound like Andy Rooney.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

28 comments On Day 355: Too Much Hot Sauce

  • I used to put sriracha on damn near everything. Pizza..sriracha. Fried chicken…sriracha. Now that I have had my gall bladder out I only use it in pho. My stomach just can't handle it anymore. I also have to seed my jalapenos and take out the white veiny parts now when I make guacamole. If I take one bite of something too spicy, I'm in huge trouble later.

    I remember watching people at a friend's party eat straight habanero sauce in a teaspoon. Guy after guy was taking the thing, then turning red and coughing and spewing. One of them said, "I bet Melanie is the only girl who will do this." I said, "Umm, no. No she's not." No thanks.

  • You know that hot sauce gets you high, right? There are also a lot of health claims and some research proving benefits to a variety of spices. You build up a tolerance for sure and I am not sure if it's genetic or not but my 18 month old enjoys food spicier than a lot of my friends can eat it…

  • If it hurts to eat it, I'm not eating it. Except sour patch kids. Those little fuckers get me every time.

  • My side of the family does hot, I mean sweat over your plate hot. I used to laugh at my dad when we ate Chinese and he covered everything in hot mustard and then ordered his meal just as hot. He would perspire the entire time we were eating. This is how I grew up…my husband had never really eaten a jalapeno before he met me. When I was 21 we used to drink spicy hot bloody mary's with Tabasco of course but then to add insult we would put carmex on our lips to see who could handle the heat. My husband now eats spicy like my family. I think its an acquired taste…I have dated men in the past who thought pepperoni was too spicy. I knew then it would never work out. My kids all love spicy foods including hot wings, even our four year old and the hotter the better. It definitely makes eating more interesting. The next time you order pepperoni pizza get it with jalapenos too!

  • My husband has a whole collection of hot sauces from all over the world. It dominates the door of our fridge. When we first started dating I cooked a nice meal for him. I used to be a chef. I was horribly insulted when he slathered hot sauce onto the meal I had prepared in hopes of impressing him. Then I had dinner at his family's and the table was full of hot sauces. So no more insult LOL!

    • It must be genetic then, eh?

    • With my husband, it's freakin' A-1 sauce. No matter how I prepare a meat dish, what it's marinated in, or what kind of special concoction I've slaved over to douse it with, he reaches for the frickin' A-1 sauce. I'm sure his dad must have done it too, but he's no longer with us. Nobody else in his family does this, but, after 8 years, I'm resigned. I just cook his meat with salt & pepper and let him douse it.

      I'm convinced that his taste buds are screwed up because he smokes so much, and wrap myself in the self-delusional quilt of 'when he quits he'll…' Yeah, right.

      • Jason I think it is genetic. I seriously sometimes cannot eat their meals because they are so insanely hot. I watch as they all chow down and the food is burning my nose!!!!

        Julie when I was pregnant with my oldest I craved A1 something fierce. That and turkey gravy. I hate A1 on every single meat item that sat on my plate,and turkey gravy when onto everything else…even salad. It was gross.

        • I think it's a combination of genetics and acquired. I once asked our pediatrician if I could let my son try spicy foods. He said, "What do you think Mexican and Indian children eat?"

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