Freelance writer Alicia Ranch-Traille joins ES to talk hot sauce. Very hot sauce.
You don’t quite know what makes yourself tick. As a kid, you played mad scientist with the solvents and cleansers beneath the kitchen sink. As a teenage vandal, you really got something out of chemistry class: a temporary record down at the police station. In college, you jumped out of a plane because the sky would win if you didn’t, and you once made a resume that listed only your bodily scars. As an adult, you’re either the dude who sets his head on fire at a bar and makes the national news, or you’re someone for whom ingesting the world’s hottest sauces and peppers is an extracurricular pursuit.
Or maybe both. It’s a fine line. There’s a way out of this hole, man. It’s time to bottle and sell your pain. You need to make your own hot sauce.
Hot Sauce: A Truly Hot Commodity
Hot sauce isn’t just for men, of course. It’s just that guys have built a whole subculture around it, a close cousin of the microbrew movement. Americans love hot sauce, and the fact that it’s one of the top-10 growth industries in the U.S. right now proves it. By 2017, according to an IBISWorld report, hot sauce is expected to be a $1.3 billion industry, and the movement is already well underway. Just take a look at all the chilihead resources that have popped up in recent years. Austin has a store devoted just to hot sauce. You can get lost in the Hot Sauce Blog for hours, and certain people are obsessed with Sriracha.
What this means for the home chili pepper enthusiast is simple. There’s a market for that thing you love, and you should consider getting in. Unfortunately, chiliheads—being reckless and impulsive by nature—tend to be both rule-averse and unsystematic. That’s no way to learn cooking. “Trial and error” doesn’t mean throwing a bunch of stuff together at random, you know. You can’t see your variables that way. It’s not scientific.