There are people that can’t go without a drop or two of hot sauce on their eggs. They’ll use whatever is on the table. It doesn’t need to be that hot as long as the peppery, vinegary flavor works itself to the fore.
Then there are those that call themselves chili heads. These are the people that scoff at whatever bottle of hot sauce happens to be on the table. No, that’s not completely accurate. It’s that they would need to use the entire bottle of that 4000 Scoville hot sauce to make some sort of a difference to their day.
Of course, there are also people that can’t stand the idea of a chili pepper or hot sauce; they visibly recoil at the thought. We don’t know these folks, but we’ve seen them trying to order food before. (And, sometimes we laugh a little to ourselves.)
What we struggle with, however, are the guys (and gals; we’re not trying to be politically incorrect here) that claim to love their hot sauces, and they’ve only tried a few. They may even categorize their sauces as “the mild one” and “the hot stuff.”
How can you claim to be a chili head when you’ve only sampled a handful of peppers and hot sauces?
Surely there must be some sort of baseline that you must pass before you can claim to be a chili head?
There’s a Wide World of Heat to Explore
There are something like 200 different chili peppers out there; there are a seemingly countless number of hot sauces. Both categories continue to grow rapidly. People are crossbreeding peppers, and, wonderfully, a wild variety is discovered in remote areas every now and again.
As for hot sauces, this condiment is taking over the world. It’s the fastest-growing segment of the market; not just in the United States either. Even the Brits are catching on; their hot sauce consumption is continually on the rise. And, that’s before discussing countries and regions where chili peppers are a bona fide part of life.
With the number of hot sauces and chili peppers, there are millions and millions of possible dishes and means of preparing food so that it bites you back. Curries and wings are mere appetizers to the wide world of extreme foods possible on the planet.
And that’s why it grates a little when we overhear things like, “have you got sriracha” and “do you have something hotter?”
It would be nice to listen to a conversation that includes phrases like, “I wonder what this pepper would taste like mixed with plums instead of mangoes… perhaps if we added a dash more onion.” At least, we imagine that’s what chili heads speak about.
Isn’t It Time?
Okay, okay… Not everyone has the time or capacity to sample every pepper on the planet (though how there are so many people attempting to smoke or snort chili peppers is beyond us). And, to be fair, it does take a hell of a lot of work to get it right. We’ve been doing this for over 25 years, and we still spend ages crafting new recipes and working on the ideal growing conditions for chili peppers.
All the same, isn’t it time you added a new chili pepper or hot sauce to your arsenal? At the very least, you’ll be up to speed when someone finally introduces criteria for the term chili head.