I’d been thinking I might write something about the strange weather we’ve been having here in Vancouver this winter (excessive rain, snow, wind, felled trees, water advisories, and power outages, capped with a stadium collapse), but it’s been a weird season throughout the northern hemisphere, and it seems Vancouver’s story might not be that special. That, and I assume that reading about weather is dead boring.
Instead, I’d like to showcase my love for perhaps the crassest condiment of all: hot sauce.
Main dish or merely piquant highlight, I have enjoyed spicy things since small times. Jalapeños, vindaloos, and wasabi–I counted those and many more as yummy, yummy contributions to my diet. I’m not really certain why. I might be a nontaster. I’m even more likely an addict. It’s only recently, however, that I’ve really consciously recognized my affinity and begun research into it. As well, it’s only recently that I’ve begun to cater to my needs in earnest.
While serving as Michelle’s field assistant in Washington and Montana last summer, I gave in to fancy and began acquiring the first pieces in what has blossomed into the J. Harlen Bretz Collection of Crass Condiments & Sundry Gustatory Anguishes. As we travelled from small town to smaller town, I checked each grocer’s for hot sauces that I’d not seen in Canada. It was a fun distraction, made for more palatable camp meals, and helped to cool me a little when I came to learn what was meant by “more than 100° F in the shade.”
It’s worth noting that, aside from a brief flirtation with philately in my youth, I’ve not really set out to “collect” anything; I’ve just never understand the point of buying things to have.¹ Now, buying things to eat, consequently regret, then gleefully eat again… this is something I can understand. I’m still finding pieces to add to the collection, and I’m looking forward to finding more whenever I travel.
I’ve created a page cataloging each specific sauce, and I’ll be updating it as I find more. In the meantime, please enjoy this photo of a large part of the Collection.
1. I don’t collect comic books. I read them, and I further admit to myself and anyone else that they are far less likely to appreciate in value than something from, say… The Franklin Mint.