**I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway, but all thoughts and opinions are my own**
This is a book about hot sauce. Denver Nicks sets out to understand just what it is that gets people so passionate about hot sauce. Why would people choose to eat something that causes the pain receptors on your tongue to go haywire, makes you sweat and snot, and literally makes you cry? And why, after the first experience, do people go back?
I feel the need to tell you a dirty little secret before I tell you anything else about my experience with this book: I don’t really like spice. Like, hot spice. I love different spices, but when something is hot for the sake of being hot, I really do not enjoy it. In fact, my father makes beautiful, homemade buffalo wings, with a recipe that he has been perfecting for over 30 years, and I just ventured to give it another try this past December.
That being said, I really did quite enjoy this book. It was an intriguing look into where hot sauce comes from, historically and culturally, and why the hot sauce industry has seen such rapid and sustained growth over the last few decades. Denver Nicks takes a look at some of the science behind what makes things hot, and why we might continue to go back for more after a particularly painful experience. The book is filled with entertaining anecdotes featuring several hometown hot sauce heroes, which gives you the feeling that you’ve come along for the journey through the hot sauce nation.
I did feel that there were times when we were beating a dead horse, that humanity’s relationship with hot sauce was philosophized and romanticized a bit much. However, I am not a hot sauce aficionado, so I am definitely an outsider looking in. I do not understand the joy that comes with making it through a 3.278 million SHU hot sauce. So I accept that there are parts of this book that weren’t written for me.
This book takes a delightful, lighthearted look at the psyche of the hot sauce aficionado. If you weren’t craving salsa, buffalo wings, or some sort of spicy flavour before reading this book, you definitely will after.