It All Comes Back To The Simpsons

Monday, August 14, 2006

"Hey Kids, It's Nachos, Flanders-Style: Cucumbers And Cottage Cheese!"

Garrison Keillor with a spicy little number

Let me start out this post by affirming that I am a thoroughly Midwestern soul: I like a simple, slow-paced life...the sort of life that can be narrated by Garrison Keillor on qualudes; I consider it a joy and an honor to help out a neighbor when I can; and I don't care much for your fancy book-lernin'. There is one thing, however, that frustrates me to no end about residing in the Land of Bland*: I'm consisently let down by the area's feeble attempts at hot sauce.

This disappointment is usually brought on by friends. "Be careful," they'll say, offering up some so-called hot sauce, "just use a tiny bit because it packs a whallop."

I'll tell them that I really like hot sauce, so I'm sure I'll be okay. They assure me that they love hot sauce too..the hotter the better, they'll say. They beg me to trust them and just use miniscule amounts.

I used to take their advice, now I just dump the sauce on with abandon as they watch, wide-eyed and horrified, squirming ever so slightly in their seats with typical Midwestern restraint. As I take a bite, they wince and avert their eyes.

"'s sorta hot, I guess," is my inevitable reply.

I remember one day my eighth grade Spanish teacher brought in some authentic Mexican salsa and chips. Our desks were arranged in a big circle and she brought the tray around to each student at their desks. She cautioned everyone to take just a little, as it was very hot. As the chips and salsa made their way around, kids started wailing, tearing up and jumping up and down in their seats, and sucking air into their mouths in a vain attempt to cool the burning in their salsa hole.

When she got to me, I tried was sorta hot, I guess.

*One of the funniest stories I've heard about the Land of Bland is from my neighbor. Apparently, her grandmother used to make her own ketchup at home because "that store-bought stuff is just too spicy!"


  • No offense, but this is the land of cheese and mayonnaise you're talking about. If it were any whiter, it'd be translucent.

    By Blogger Otto Man, at Mon Aug 14, 12:31:00 PM 2006  

  • SSB-
    They do the same damm thing here in the home of Buffalo wings! I say "Gimme Atomic" and the wait staff look at me like I am crazed. Wings come out, I eat, I drink my beer, I leave with the oohs and ahhs ringing in my ears.

    People, you got to love 'em.

    Those chinese red peppers are another story. Sweet, sweet, heat.

    By Blogger Mr. Friendly, at Mon Aug 14, 02:20:00 PM 2006  

  • Come on out to the west coast SSB. Even up here in the Northwest you'll find authentic Mexican as hot as you please. I'm afraid my tongue was as babied back in the midwest as some of your friends.

    By Blogger DrMax, at Tue Aug 15, 01:39:00 AM 2006  

  • My dad makes his own salsa and it's super hot but that's the way we like it - except my mom. He has to make a mild batch just for her. We all laugh at her when she says the mild is still "a little too hot."

    By Blogger Heather, at Tue Aug 15, 05:49:00 AM 2006  

  • I tried Heinz Tabasco ketchup but it was lame. I'm a Habernero kind of gal.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Aug 15, 08:13:00 PM 2006  

  • OMG! MY Grandma thinks Ketchup is spicy too!

    I hear what you're saying about Land of the Bland. I have a co-worker from the mid-west who we tease as being allergic to "Flavor." She'll sense spice in something we had no idea was even remotely "spicy."

    I have a high "heat" tolerance. Pass me the Jalapenos please.

    By Blogger Shannon, at Wed Aug 16, 10:23:00 AM 2006  

  • Ketchup too spicy? We're through the looking glass here people.

    Do the bubbles in soda burn her tongue, too?

    By Blogger Otto Man, at Wed Aug 16, 10:27:00 AM 2006  

  • Spicy ketchup? Jeez, what about extra minty toothpaste? I bet she uses baking soda. shiver

    By Blogger mcBlogger, at Wed Aug 16, 02:13:00 PM 2006  

  • very interesting, i like

    By Anonymous flipz, at Thu Aug 17, 07:33:00 AM 2006  

  • SSB, how can you talk about spicy food and not squeeze in a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper quote? Or how about when Marge becomes a cop and Homer sprays her mace on his eggs?

    For shame.

    For a lot of folks, spicy foods trigger the release of endorphins. This reduces the sting as well as providing a warm sensation that many folks love. This warm sensation is experienced in a more subtle fashion the next day, as the undigested spices in your fecal matter stimulate your intestines.

    Then there's the rest of us who don't get much of an endorphin benefit, so spicy = painful.

    By Blogger Thrillhous, at Thu Aug 17, 02:20:00 PM 2006  

  • I too am constantly disappointed at Midwestern 'hot'. The chili here is just beef and tomato soup with macaroni.

    My dad knew hot, though. He made pickles that would peel the skin off your tongue! Those were GOOD!

    And I LOVED the wasabi we had the other day. That was so hot I thought my hair was going to pop off of my head! Those were tears of joy running down my face! Give me more wasabi!!

    By Blogger Sylvana, at Fri Aug 18, 11:34:00 PM 2006  

  • Pls check your email.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Aug 22, 08:14:00 PM 2006  

  • Dr Max- Indeed. I thought I was inured against hot sauce after years of "authentic" Indian and Pakistani dishes, and my own mother's cooking. I went to a restaurant recently that had only mild and hot sauce. The mild was really mild, so next time I got the hot.

    My nose ran for the entire night. Now that is some good hot sauce.

    Sy- Macaroni in chili???? What is the world coming to?

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at Thu Aug 24, 03:08:00 PM 2006  

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