product review, rant

Spice. it’s the Spice of Life.

get it straight.

submitted for your approval: three episodes in the life (my life) of spice.

firestick-21. a change in the winds: while i have in no measure abated in my love for Macaricos Piri Piri sauce, in the past few weeks i’ve been finding Walkerswood’s “Plenty Hot” Jamaican Firestick sauce to be making more fridge-to-table trips. like Macarico, it’s a good all purpose table sauce (or “Everyday”), but isn’t quite so salty.  it’s actually fairly middling – not particularly hot (i’d suggest “reasonably” or “sufficiently” hot, in lieu of “plenty”), fairly subtle in its flavour, with more of a peppery taste than the scorching tang and sweetness that i usually associate with west  Indian sauces, and neither is it too high in vinegar content; my complaint with a lot of the more mainstream Louisiana style sauces. ultimately, though, it is this initial unremarkability which makes Firestick so versatile.

at $1.50/bottle (from La Depense, in Jean-Talon), it’s irresistibly affordable, but unfortunately the slightness of the heat means i go through it a little faster than i’d like. on the bottle it names nothing more specific than “hot pepper,” but after some poking around, i’ve learned that the West Indian Red is a newly recognized strain, that although i couldn’t find a Scoville rating, looks from photos to be of the same family as scotch bonnet.

don’t fret and don’t moan, my Macarico, you still remain first in my heart, if for the moment consigned to the chill of the fridge. yet another change in the winds is, i predict, inevitably in the wings.

2. This Soup Is Fucking Delicious: yet another soup success the exact details of which i am unable to share, as it consists in a defrosted Thanksgiving-era experiment, but as far as i can tell it’s a sweet potato/turnip/ginger soup with a bit of fourme d’ambert and topped with some berbere-toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds to step up the spice of the ginger. and admittedly, a few dollops of Island Tingle to step up the spice still further, for i can do no other.saveur

3. the Saveur 100 for this year contains four entries devoted to homemade spicy condiments! (seven if you count sofrito, ketchup and worcestershire sauce! which……maybe i do!) i don’t know why i find this at all exciting, but i do. i guess it’s kind of like having a magazine shake your hand and be like, “good job, jonah. keep it up.” also their recipe for louisiana hot sauce involves salting the peppers for a day first, which i’d somehow never heard before, and now am champing at the bit to try.

granted, this is the Home Cooking 100, to be distinguished from their usual annual 100 list, which can be seen here.

oh, and the featured condiments are 29. spicy guinness mustard, 35. harissa, 63. louisiana style hot sauce,  and 85. gaeng  pet thai chile sauce, the first and second of which i am going to get on like brown on rice.


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