Hey, have you ever caught yourself saying to someone, “I put hot sauce on everything,” as if you need to apologize or explain it?
Why do you think you do this? Do you feel self-conscious about your love of hot sauce? Like maybe you are a little overzealous with your usage of it, or maybe normal people don’t go through the big bottle of Sriracha or Cholula or Tapatio in a single week?
Maybe you have, while eating in the privacy of your own home, sat down with a plate of food, taken a few bites, realized you ruined whatever you intended to cook, got back up, grabbed a bottle of hot sauce, covered the entire dish in it, and then ate all the food without further thought. Maybe you have done this more than a dozen times in the last year, and you wonder why you never see anyone doing it on a cooking show, or seen it described in a cookbook, i.e., “Let cool for 5 minutes, then douse with Tabasco, and serve.”
Have you ever poured hot sauce on a restaurant dish without tasting it first? Have you ever struggled through the last 90 percent of a meal because you overzealously applied hot sauce to it at the beginning, and then must deal with the fallout of pitting out your shirt, wiping sweat off your forehead, and frantically chugging water and trying to exhale cool air onto your tongue? Have you ever put hot sauce on ice cream? Have you ever stirred hot sauce into ketchup? Have you ever said to someone, “I would eat dog food if you put enough Tapatio on it.” Have you ever received a strange look from a server at a restaurant when asking for hot sauce with your meal?
All these things are OK. Hot sauce is OK, on any food you want to use it on. It is OK even if other people say it isn’t. It is OK if you want to put so much hot sauce on your food that it becomes inedible to all human beings, including yourself. If you prefer all of your food to have the bright reddish-orange tint of a coating only a blanket of Cholula can provide, you are not wrong. We did not drag ourselves out of the ocean, develop thumbs, and learn to use fire and tools so we could eat bland food.
You do not need to ask anyone for their permission or blessing to put hot sauce on something. You do not need to Google whether or not it’s OK to put hot sauce on something either (although someone apparently does). If your friends think you’re disgusting, get new friends. What is culinarily frowned upon in one country is commonplace somewhere in the world.
People say variety is the spice of life, but that isn’t necessarily true for everyone. Sometimes capsaicin is the spice of life. It can be the spice of your life.