Hot Sauce: Your Lifestyle Is the Target
What does your favorite condiment reveal about who you are?
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., Aug. 28, 2020
The brand of hot sauce you choose to consume is yet another thing that lets everyone know, "This is the kind of person you're dealing with here."
Sure, it's ultimately about the flavor you prefer and the level of heat you're seeking. But if you think there's not also a sort of condiment-aligned version of virtue-signaling going on with hot sauce consumption, at least on some level, then you're probably fooling yourself about a lot of other things in the world and should probably go ahead and vote for the Republicans again in November.
[Note: Don't actually do that. Because you're not stupid.]
And the hot sauce companies know this, of course, and they exploit the psychosocial knowledge as best they can, marketing their wares accordingly and reaping the rewards of demographic-based sales – thus enjoying another part of capitalism that actually works, while (one hopes) remaining true to their original, pepper-obsessed dreams.
"You'd better provide a few examples here, bub," you say, realizing that, even though you picked up the use of "bub" from your late grandfather when you were a toddler, now, thanks to current pop culture, it resonates more as a habit of the X-Men's Wolverine, and you feel kind of silly about it. But don't sweat it, reader, and here are three examples.
1) TRUFF This hot sauce stands out from the crowd and lets people know that you, too, stand out from the crowd. Because you like your hot sauce like you like your lovers: infused with truffles. Truff is packaged like it's a fancy cologne – the crisp, bold typography; the geometrically abstracted truffle shape of its cap; the special white truffle version that comes in a foil-embossed box that wouldn't look out of place at Van Cleef & Arpels. Flavorwise, we've heard it described as insufficiently hot, as a sort of "glorified ketchup" wherein you could, though, definitely taste the truffles. We wouldn't disagree, regarding the Truff "hot sauce"; but the company also offers a so-called "hotter sauce," and that one works a modicum of fire into the mix, and is worthy of using even when you don't need a brand that shrieks LUXURY! on your Instagram.
2) HELLFIRE If you like hot sauce that's truly about the chile peppers (and other flavorful ingredients), then you'll love this stuff, whether you enjoy the milder or the more mouth-crippling versions: It's literally award-winning, after all. But it's likely you'll be drawn to Hellfire, and will remain a loyal fan, if you're also into death metal. Thanks to the demonic artistry of painter Steve Batson and sculptor Dan Norton, that's what the labels and packaging suggest: That you prefer to eat your hot wings while cranking up the Sepultura, say, or Fleshgod Apocalypse. This is a sauce that pairs well, stylistically, with your favorite skull-shaped bong.
3) SACRED SAUCE This combination of spice, mango, and citrus is definitely the hot sauce of the virtuous. Sacred Sauce is "the socially responsible, humanitarian business that just happens to create mouth-watering hot sauces," boasts the press release. "Every bottle purchased protects a tennis court-sized area of critically endangered rainforest. Your desire for Sacred Sauce products helps protect species, communities, and habitats under threat that, quite frankly, don't receive enough awareness." Sacred is even marketed specifically as a hot sauce for salads. And, quite frankly, we can't imagine a vegan who listens to NPR and has framed photos of John Muir, Mahatma Gandhi, and Fluttershy on their yurt's wall not having a bottle on hand.