Posted January 20, 2006 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Sauce News

Never trust men with dreadlocks, TV preachers


I should have known from the picture on the bottle that it was a bad idea.

The photo and graphics on the label clearly indicated that pain was part of the game with this stuff, but I didn’t listen — as usual.

But, by not listening, I learned a valuable lesson. So I guess, it’s “all good” as they say. Whoever “they” are.

I was in a large grocery store in Huntington, in search of a Freschetta pizza and some hot sauce. Because a pizza just isn’t a pizza without some hot sauce. Especially a frozen pizza.

I made my way back to the freezer first.

Naturally, along the way I picked up some butter, some bread and some Twinkies. You never know when a nuclear disaster is going to strike, so Twinkies are always good to have on hand. That’s the excuse I give my personal trainer anyway. It is also impossible to walk through a grocery store and buy just what you came in to get.

I opted for the sauce-stuffed crust Freschetta pizza with pepperoni only. I can’t recommend it enough.

As I said, a pizza just isn’t a pizza without some hot sauce.

So I made my way to the condiments aisle.

Between me and the condiment aisle, were about a dozen attractive young ladies scattered among the other aisles. If I was still a gambling man, I would bet that they were all Marshall students, gearing up for the new semester.

As I walked by, they all looked up at me, and as usual, clutched their pepper spray key chains with a white-knuckle grip.

That’s the one gift I have, the ability to creep people out with little more than my mere presence in the room — especially the ladies. I’ve embraced it.

After making it from one end of the store to the other without getting maced, I found the hot sauce section.

For years, I have been a dedicated Texas Pete kinda guy.

Occasionally, I would buy the McIlhinney Tobasco sauce, but I would always make my way back to Texas Pete. I just think it has the best flavor. It might not have the heat that others do, but the flavor is better.

But I was feeling adventurous — not adventurous enough to talk to the mace-wielding ladies roaming the store though. I’ve had enough problems with my eyes lately that I didn’t need to get hot sauce shot into my retinas.

My spontaneity led me to explore the hot sauce shelf.

There was sauce from Emeril, there was sauce from the grocery store, there were no fewer than a dozen brand names on the shelf, and multiple varieties of each.

There was one that got my attention.

Actually, there were several.

They were little bottles, shaped like a pint of whiskey, with a brown, paper-bag-like label on it.

There were three different kinds of this sauce, and each one had a different face on it. Each face was of a man with his tongue stuck out and his eyes closed in apparent pain.

“This looks like the stuff for me,” I thought.

After all, I had survived several encounters with some hot sauce called “Rectal Rocket Fuel,” so I figured that I could deal with just about anything.

I started inspecting the bottles a bit closer.

On the upper right corner of the label was a thermometer graphic. Only, this company called it a “Pain Meter.”

Still undaunted, I found the pain meter that registered near the top of the chart.

“This’ll do it,” I thought to myself.

I carried it, and everything else to the front to check out, making sure not to make eye contact with any of the dozen or so young ladies walking around the store. I was almost home free; I didn’t want to get maced at this point in the game.

I scanned my stuff, slid my card, and within 15 minutes I was home, preheating my oven to 400 degrees.

It was a routine I have gone through a hundred times, and I have the stomach to prove it.

Only this time, things were different.

I put the pizza in the oven for about 15 minutes. Pulled it out, and poured the hot sauce all over it, as I usually do, and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Freschettas are best when the pepperoni is slightly burnt. That’s my opinion anyway, and my opinion is what counts. I think we can all agree on that.

While the pizza was finishing, I made a pitcher of margaritas. Why not, right?

My margaritas are simple. I just throw some Limeaid, ice, and a splash of orange juice (the Gerber baby orange juice things are perfect) into the blender for the ones I make at home. They turn out wonderful.

About the time I finished the ritas, the pizza was done.

I cut it up, poured a drink, and sat down to watch Seinfeld on TV.

As I said, I should have known from the picture on the bottle and the little thing that said “Pain Meter” that this was stuff not to mess around with.

I didn’t realize that until my third bite of pizza.

By that point, I was too far into this stuff to turn back when I realized I had made a mistake.

After my third bite, the pain set in — a pain that the margarita could not cure.

This sauce was smoking hot.

I would have probably have been better off taking my chances on making eye contact or even talking with the pepper-spray-clutching ladies at the grocery store than I was with this stuff in my mouth.

I apparently used a bit too much on my pizza. We are only two weeks into the new year, and that statement will likely hold up as the understatement of the year.

There are several things that cannot be done on this planet, and one of those is keep a fat man from his pizza. No matter what the situation is.

I kept on eating despite the pain. Once my mouth went numb it was quite good.

The one mistake I made was that I kept sucking on my margaritas, strong margaritas, after nearly every bite. I probably should have switched to water, because periodically I had to deal with brain freeze on top of the burning tongue. It was disastrous.

Within the hour, I had eaten most of the pizza, finished off the pitcher of margaritas, was lying on the couch watching smiling Joel Osteen tell me where I was going wrong in life.

I’m not one to argue with a television preacher, but I did feel that he didn’t give me the complete picture.

He gave a lot of advice for finding joy, happiness, and all of that other stuff. But he never once said “Don’t buy the hot sauce with the photo of a screaming man with dreadlocks on it and pour it all over your pizza, especially if you are drinking stiff margaritas with it.”

That is actually advice, I could have used.

I think I’m gonna write him a letter.

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog