Touching your goodness, I am like a man
Who turns a letter over in his hand
And you might think that this was because the hand
Was unfamiliar but, truth is, the man
Has never had a letter from anyone;
And now he is both afraid of what it means
And ashamed because he has no other means
To find out what it says than to ask someone.
His uncle could have left the farm to him,
Or his parents died before he sent them word,
Or the dark girl changed and want him for beloved.
Afraid and letter-proud, he keeps it with him.
What would you call his feeling for the words
that keep him rich and orphaned and beloved?
It’s official: Louisiana hot sauce has secured the number 2 position on my Top 5 Hot Sauces List. The new list is as follows:
Cholula Hot Sauce is still the top dog. It’s not the most popular brand and you rarely see a bottle of it on a restaurant table, but this stuff can flavor up a bowl of shredded newspaper. I like my hot sauce on the thicker side of things and Cholula mixes perfect volume with flavor. A good trick for scrambled eggs is to mix it into the egg wash before you cook the eggs. Cholula also has enough flavor to stand up to beef, which isn’t true of the more peppery watery sauces. Look for the trademark wooden cap and get on this *ish.
I was lame on Louisiana for a little while because a bartender gave it to me in a Bloody Mary (thanks Ruben, 6am Sunday shift at the Silver Fox). In truth I hate Bloody Marys anyway and it didn’t matter if he put liquid gold in it I was going to spit it out, hide the drink under my bar stool and find someone to beat at pool (Why did I order it? Why was I drinking at 6am on a Sunday? All good questions I haven’t a clue the answer to. Shoulda been in church).
Flat out, Louisiana brings the punch. It’s not as thick as Cholula but the pepper fires on more cylinders with a distinctly different taste. Drop some dabs into rice with a little roast garlic and corn and it’s a whole different dish. The good thing about Louisiana is that it works on Oysters on the half shell better than Cholula does because it’s not as thick, though good luck finding it at most bars or restaurants. I don’t even know if it’s that popular in Louisiana. Last time I was in New Orleans they put Tabasco in all their jumbalaya and gumbos and on the tables.
When you don’t have a ton of money and it’s winter and you’re looking to heat up your bland old living-paycheck-to-paycheck staples like brown rice, eggs, beans, oatmeal(?), Ramen, or a fried chicken platter from Popeyes (Holla!) then Louisiana can be your best friend. Or second best friend.
Frank’s Red Hot is like that dude that always comes to your parties even though you may have never invited him and maybe breaks your lamp by accident or spills jungle juice all over your carpet or something, but he starts dancing when the party is kind of whack and quiet and then everyone gets into it and starts dancing in the living room and all of a sudden it’s bangin’ and you can finally exhale and have a good time yourself. Versatile, tasty (heavier on the cayenne than most) and holds it’s head up high above the watery pepper sauce crowd. But Frank’s is no snob. It’s the people’s champ and I’m all for that.
I always wanted to like Tapatio more than I actually do. It was on virtually every table in San Diego and was a great thick hot sauce but I never really cared for the flavor. Too thick or dense a concentration of peppers maybe, it had this almost vomitous quality to it that strangely enough was never a complete turnoff (if you like hot sauce, nothing is COMPLETE turnoff, right?). In small doses—a drop or two—it was fine, but unfortunately it’s wide mouth (most hot sauce bottle openings are like a centimeter or less, Tapatio is almost a half inch) would always pour out more than I cared for. Maybe it needed a little more onion up in the mix to sweeten out the finish. All in all the fact that it was thick was enough to keep it in the top 5.
Look I’m not going to lie to you on this blog that I created with the intention of being honest(that’s a lie. I created it because I didn’t want to pay someone to make me a real website): I don’t use Tabasco sauce anymore. I haven’t poured as much as one droplet on any of my food in probably 10 years. But the truth is I came up on this sucker. Working at snack bars in the summer when I was younger me and my friend Ben would get high in the walk-in Freezer then deep fry everything we could think of from chicken wings to pineapples to s’mores and drench them with Tabasco. After a while we probably could’ve just drunk the bottle straight and in fact I remember “some people” earning quite a lot of money winning bets to do just that. Today though, Tabasco is too watery and not flavorful enough for me. I still give it a dap and show it the respect it deserves but we’re not running in the same circles anymore. Tabasco is a gateway drug though, that’s for damn sure.
I’m always looking to expand my palette so do you have any hot sauces that should be on this list?
Tom Petty describing his roadie, “Bugs”, in Conversations With Tom Petty (Omnibus Press):
“I loved him very much. He’s very much one of our brothers. He’s looked after us for thirty years now. He won’t ever give an interview. He’s never spoken two words to the press. That would be beneath him. It would be against his code. He knows where all the bodies are buried though. He probably knows the whole story better than anybody. Including me. Because he’s heard everybody’s perspective on it.”
Lay all night in this fine snowfall
Drank my weight in some awful wine.
Kids made angels with antlers for lungs
And raided abandoned mangers for santa’s chocolate chips
While I pressed the memory of your dirty palms to my lips
And vanished snowflakes from my tongue.
A strange thing happens to a man when he reads too much Sylvia Plath*. It usually begins following a short but impacting spiritually naked caress with Emily Dickinson Good Morning-Midnight or Jean Rhys’ Good Morning, Midnight. You are beyond your Rimbaud Season In Hell, in recovery, have trampled all the flowers of evil, the Spring has bought nothing but your Gide, your Celine your Journey To The End Of The Night. The French consume you with some Sinistre Liberation, with some Death March, with some wild selfish avaricious appetite and lust you swath through petty society folk and addicted romance and feel both strong and challenged, and bored and disappointed, but all the time vain & vein and kill hearts and proclaim Give Me No Pain or Give Me New Pain. I Can Take It All. Find New Wounds For All These Mirrors And Bottles I’ve Broken Along The Course and so lance towards the Ecstatic West! And the Coast!—it’s sublime. It is never what you imagine it to be. It sadly never is, or it is all you ever imagined and sadly all it ever is.
You are let out on this beach and there is a sigh, there is a respite. There is a sexless sweetness to the air that you cannot challenge and there is nothing to conquer and there is every wave dumping your pathetic reflection back at your feet forever and behind you there is only one tree, a palm, up on a cliff that you have already cross beyond, progressed beyond.
And in slips Sylvia Plath with this new pain elixir, like moon milk finally come to vanquish the lingering ghosts of shouts in your exhausted throat.
*Me, probably any winter circa 2000 - 2004.
I got a poem from my new series Cyborg.Membrance published over at NWV. It’s called ‘Let Me Pet Your Poetry’. It’s a love poem. They all are. More to come. Love the layout of this journal
Thanks so much to Ana C, poet/killer