Ring of Fire: a Timeline of My Love-Obsession with Spicy Foods

Photo Credit: http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2012/08/14/taste-test-hot-sauce/
Photo Credit: http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2012/08/14/taste-test-hot-sauce/

I have always loved spicy foods. How could I not being the daughter of  a Korean woman who ate (and still eats) spicy food daily. Even my son , at one and a half, appears to be following me down this path. I only can hope his own journey of relationships with spicy foods will be as fulfilling as mine.

When I was a toddler, my mother introduced me to my first love. She would feed me kimchi. She still tells me the story about how she would rinse off a piece and give it to me. I’d make sounds, “phhh phhh” indicating it was hot and then say “more”.

As a young girl, I remember going to the local swimming pool in the summers, and always brought some change to purchase my sweets from the concession stand. My favorite candy, for 5 cents, was the fireball. The challenge was to see how long you could let this cinnamon treat sit in your mouth before having to spit it out. Today I think fireballs and cinnamon candy are gross. It was a nice, innocent crush to think back on though.

As a teenager, my mom would make wings at her work and bring them home. New feelings I’d never had before emerged in me for the Lousiana Hot Sauce that was used on these wings. My mom brought a big jug home for me. I would eat plain chicken all the time and dip it into the sauce. Sooooo good. I forgot about this Lousiana hot sauce, as it is long gone in the past. However, I find that Frank’s reminds me of those days . Lots of similarities there.

As a young adult, I discovered restaurants that were open 24 hours in the big city of Minneapolis (I grew up in a town, population 1000, so Minneapolis was huge in comparison). Jalapeno poppers became my new love. Not only were they spicy, but they came with melty cheese. My biggest problem with the poppers, the reason I moved on: just not spicy enough.

As I got out of college, Buffalo Wild Wings came to be my new place to drink beer. Hello Blazin’ Sauce! This one just goes right for it, and I liked that aggressiveness at the time. I recall I had bought a bottle that I used to put in any pasta, rice, or meat dish. The problem was it just got too hot too fast, so I had to move on. To this day, I still cannot finish six wings in a sitting, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

Next came my undying love and obsession with Chipotle’s hot salsa. Anytime I’d go there, I’d make the people I went with ask for an extra side of it to give to me. This is the ultimate, for me. This is the one I always go back to and never get tired of. No matter what new love I have, none will replace Chipotle’s hot salsa. We were meant for each other. The thing about Chipotle’s hot salsa that gets me is how my face gets numb as I consume it. I think I actually get high from it. That’s true passion there.

Next, Cholula on scrambled eggs became my favorite morning venture. The vinegary, salty, spicy combination is addicting. And really, if Cholula wasn’t available, I’d settle for some Tabasco (Bloody Mary anyone?) or Tapatio. I’m pretty much over these breakfast condiments now though. I needed more than a one meal a day kind of hotness. I needed and still needed a little more consistency, a spiciness that would be there for me anytime of the day.

Srirachi was a big discovery for me in graduate school. Every evening class I had, I would get a cup of soup (it was $1.50 and always delicious) and I would add Srirachi. I’m not quite as in love with it anymore, but you can always find a bottle in my fridge. I go back from time to time because of the great companionship. We will always be friends.

After a bad breakup, the human kind, I discovered the best martini ever made. I wish I could remember it’s name because it was something clever, something very fitting for a single girl ready to re-invent herself. I don’t know what was in it, but it didn’t matter because I was committed, and I kept going back for this spicy little Casanova. We couldn’t last though. My spicy martini was too much of a bad influence so we had to break up. Rebounds never last anyway, right?

My newest passion is chili paste. The kind you find in Hawaiian restaurants or in Chinese restaurants in little jars. I feel like we have a very practical relationship. It’s the perfect spice level to compliment my lifestyle as a working mom. I’ve got my own jar in the fridge, and I love it on cucumbers, French fries, rice, and potstickers. I can see this being a long-term relationship, but there’s still lots of time left in my journey.

Honorable Mention: Spicy Cheetohs, the salsa from Pepito’s in South Minneapolis, Thai curry, Famous Dave’s Devil Spit, McDonald’s Spicy Chicken sandwiches, and Kimchi flavored Ramen


This post was inspired by the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt.

  12 comments for “Ring of Fire: a Timeline of My Love-Obsession with Spicy Foods

  1. May 1, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I love Chipotle! But I can’t do the hottest sauce. Spicy food is good, but I have to have it in small doses.

    I looked through some of your older posts, and as a nanny to a full time working mom, I think it’s awesome what you are doing! I have to give working mamas a lot of props.

    • Suzanne
      May 1, 2014 at 8:58 am

      Thank you for reading and for the props. Being a working mom has it’s hardships, but there are benefits too.

  2. May 1, 2014 at 7:49 am

    I felt like I was on the sideline cheering you on as you mentioned each spicy food/condiment. I am right there with you and can’t get enough of anything with a good spice to it. Kimchi is like a delicacy to me 😉 and sriracha: don’t even get me started. I’m glad I came across someone who seems to have the same spice tolerance as me:)

    • Suzanne
      May 1, 2014 at 9:11 am

      It really is a kind of passion to love spicy foods. I get excited when I meet someone who likes things spicy because that means they will enjoy the salsas I make.

  3. May 1, 2014 at 10:26 am

    My goodness.. you are a “hot” food lover! I brave wasabi, but sweat, get a runny nose and tear up with most hot sauces.. pathetically embarrassing, but I just can’t handle it!

    • Suzanne
      May 1, 2014 at 10:39 am

      I forgot about Wasabi. That’s a whole different type of hot. A co-worker made wasabi mashed potatoes for a potluck once. They were excellent.

      • May 1, 2014 at 11:43 am

        Mmmmm!!!! Now that is something I would LOVE to make. I will have to look up recipes and try it this weekend!

  4. May 3, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Kimchi is the best! It’s my goal to learn to make it. Kimchi jiggae, Soondubu jiggae, kimchi Jeon and snacking on kimchi are my favorites. Next would be bibimbap and mi yuk kuk

    • Suzanne
      May 3, 2014 at 9:42 pm

      I’ve noticed that people usually love it or hate it. I don’t know how to make it, but I’ve seen my mom make it so many times I could probably figure it out. She’d make large batches though, and I like to have it about once a month, so wouldn’t be worth all the work.

Let me know your sentiments.

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