Summer’s Here And It’s Gonna Be Hot! Hot! Hot!

Last weekend was Memorial Day weekend which, in the U.S., is the traditional start of summer even though summer officially begins in late June.  It looks to be a hot summer too, and I’m not just talking about the outside temperatures, which have been in the mid-90’s.

Earlier in the week, a co-worker was in South Florida for a business meeting and brought me a gift from one of my former bosses.  The gift was one that cannot go wrong with me: a bottle of specialty hot sauce (Neal’s Hairy Ass).  The ingredients are simple and natural: vinegar, tomatoes, onions, habanero pepper, serrano pepper, spices and garlic.

I’ll be enjoying this all summer long! Even though I have a good two dozen bottles of hot sauces on a shelf, there’s always room for one more if it’s an…interesting…one.  Neal’s Hairy Ass appeals to me (OK, snicker now if that’s where your mind is) because I like habanero, serrano and garlic.

A few of my favorite hot sauces

I can go through hot sauce quickly because it goes well with so many foods. Scrambled eggs.  Breakfast sausage.  Breakfast potatoes.  Fried fish.  Fried chicken.  Raw oysters.  Boiled shrimp. Pizza.  Burgers. (In New Mexico, the burger palaces ask whether, not if, you want red or green chiles with the meal.)

Friends who knew me when I was young would be surprised at my devotion to spicy food.  As late as high school, regular mustard was as “spicy” as I’d go.  I don’t know when that began to change but I’m sure it was an evolutionary process before I arrived at liking it so spicy my scalp sweats.

In my previous job, my co-workers included a number of engineers from Pakistan and India.  Whenever we had a work luncheon, they’d bring their favorite dishes in “mild” and “scalp sweating” versions.  That exposure certainly educated, and trained, my taste buds.  Over ten years, bite by bite, I became accustomed to, and a devotee of, spicy food.

When I came to my current job in 1993, I was lucky that my former boss and another co-worker also enjoyed spicy food.  We always sought out Thai and Indian restaurants when we were on business trips and usually impressed the servers at how spicy we liked the meal.  (Thai restaurants have a very fierce chili oil that is usually “by request ony” and which I always ask for to perk up the food.)

I don’t know if there’s a relationship, but before I came to spicy food I enjoyed sour foods.  Dill pickles.  Sauerkraut.  Crisp green mango with salt (a Filipino favorite).  Pickled okra (a fine Southern delicacy).

Summer is here.  Fire up those grills! And before you bite into the food, ask yourself: “Wouldn’t this be even better with some hot sauce?”  Of course it would….!  Here’s a place to begin.

Fried mullet with hot sauce at Roy’s, on the Gulf in Steinhatchee, Florida


6 responses to “Summer’s Here And It’s Gonna Be Hot! Hot! Hot!

  1. I too like hot sause and spicy food, here is one I sent to my brother for his birthday.
    All the best

  2. Not fair to publish a photo eating fried mullet at Roy’s. Spent many a wonderful meal there, Steinhatchee is one of my favorite haunts. Makes me hungry for fried mullet.

    • That photo is a good 10 years old, when my hair was just a bit gray. I was in Cross City on a business trip and the consultant insisted that we go to Roy’s since Cross City had few decent dining options. That was when fried mullet was still inexpensive and plentiful. Haven’t been back since, but if I’m in the area I’ll drop in for sure.

  3. I cautiously appreciate hot sauces. I keep a bottle of Sriracha sauce in the refrigerator, usually eating it with eggs.

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