So hot, it’s cool … or maybe just crazy

When we were in Minnesota last week, the special at one of the restaurants we visited was Cajun dirty rice.

The waiter went out of his way to say, “It’s spicy, but not too spicy.”

In the land of 10,000 lakes where mashed potatoes and creamed peas are common side dishes, bland is better.

My brother once joked that he wondered how Tabasco makes money since people have to buy only one bottle in a lifetime.

Apparently, Illini are not so leery of “spicy.”

Getting a new refrigerator gave me the opportunity to take stock of our range of condiments. The old refrigerator’s lack of space drove me crazy, but it’s no wonder I couldn’t find a spot for last night’s leftover Chinese takeout: 50 different condiments and garnishes (i.e., olives, maraschino cherries, capers and the like) have taken up residence in our refrigerator. And that’s after I threw out and combined at least 10 other containers.

Hot stuff in the new fridge.

In the hot sauce category alone, we have six bottles: Cholula, Sirachi, three kinds of Tabasco and Thai red curry paste (I’ve got an unopened bottle of Frank’s Red Hot in the pantry, and my brother would be amused to know I have a back-up bottle of standard Tabasco on my turnaround). My Beloved, the mustard connoisseur, loves his Lakeside’s Extra Hot Horseradish Mustard so much, we have two opened bottles in the fridge and two unopened bottles in the pantry (it’s special stuff, available only in Wisconsin). Bonuses in the hot stuff category: Chipotle mustard and straight horseradish (more about our mustard fanaticism here). If “sassy” counts as spicy, we’ve got a bottle of Famous Dave’s Rich & Sassy BBQ Sauce, too.

Now we know why the old fridge was working so hard to keep things cool!

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