Dec 01, 2010, 09:54AM

Knocked Out By the Hottest Sauce in the World

A heat aficionado hangs his head in shame after being felled by Dave's Gourmet batter.

Untitled 2.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Troy Holden

As you age, one of the irksome new realities is the inability to freely choose—whether out of health or digestive concerns—the kind of food that was once consumed without a second thought. In my case, that means no French cuisine, since the butter, cream, sugar and overall quantity of fat plays havoc with my gut. Similarly, a plateful of sushi is a delight at 7 p.m., but by the next morning I feel like I’ve drained a bottle of Bushmills. On the other hand, unlike most members of my extended family, I can handle the spiciest grub—more, sir!—with little consequence.

I’ve cleaned plates of incendiary curries in London and Mumbai; made a mockery of doubting waiters in Manhattan’s Chinatown by eating whole chili peppers; relished the blistering heat of dishes in Hong Kong and Bangkok; and downed platters of jerk chicken at makeshift lunch counters in Jamaica. As for Mexican food, whether it’s Tex-Mex ginned up by timid jalapeno-based sauces or the gourmet entrees in Guadalajara, well, that’s baby stuff.

At home, we have an assortment of bottled hot sauces, which I use unabashedly, causing the eyes of my oldest son to bug out—poor bugger, he can’t handle even a wimpy dose of Tabasco—and my wife just shakes her head at the bravado of it all. Sad to say, however, that not long ago I met my Heat Waterloo, in the form of a bottled sauce ridiculously (I thought) named “Dave’s Insanity Sauce.” I’d just settled down for dinner with a bounteous Greek salad that Melissa prepared, put an old episode of Inspector Morse (my all-time favorite British tv show, starring the incomparable John Thaw, who knocked off prematurely at the decade’s start) in the DVD player, and began to chow down. I’d liberally doused the salad with Dave’s brew, thinking nothing of it, but it was clear after my first forkful of a grape leaf and chunk of feta that I was in trouble. A few bites later and I had to remove my glasses to wipe away the tears from a sort of heat I’d never experienced; making matters far worse was the dumb mistake of dabbing my eyes with a Dave’s-soiled napkin, which felt like a hornet had stung me.

My dutiful son came home from an engagement and saw me taking deep breaths, specs still off, and dramatically asked if we should make a trip to the ER. Despite my utter discomfort, I managed to laugh and wave him off and foolishly soldiered on with the salad until finally accepting defeat. It was only later that I looked at the bottle and read these words: “Use this product one drop at a time. Keep away from eyes, pets and children. Not for people with heart/respiratory problems.” Truth be told, I’d have ignored the warning anyway, thinking it was just hype. Now I know. And, as I chucked the bottle in the trash, it was with the profound realization that, in the realm of spicy foods, I was no longer a Man of Steel. Which sucks.

  • Yeah, I once made an entire pot of chili more or less inedible with a couple of drops of Insanity...it's aptly named.

    Responses to this comment
  • As someone who has witnessed Russ order atomic wings, only to bring them home so he could add some "real heat", I advise readers to take him more seriously than he took the warning label.

    Responses to this comment
  • That's pretty incredible. I don't even think I could look at that stuff without tearing up. Who is Dave?? What makes his sauce so scorching??? Did it at least make you feel a little bit Insane?

    Responses to this comment
  • Maybe you are still the Man of Steel, just not with a quarter cup of the hottest sauce IN THE WORLD. Of course, I'm just guessing.

    Responses to this comment
  • My brother eat's Dave's Total Insanity on a regular basis with his meals. I just got him the original and ghost pepper for Christmas.

    Responses to this comment
  • Yep... I have Insanity, temporary Insanity and Ghost Pepper... By far the Insanity is the hottest... I sweat a liter or two when I eat it :-)

    Responses to this comment
  • I'm curious as to why you threw out the entire bottle. Was it because you were felled so easily by the sauce, or because you couldn't stomach the thought of possibly repeating such intestinal turmoil upon subsequent consumption? I would think if you preferred your meals with such fire, you'd welcome at least a drop or two of Dave's paired with your regular sauce of choice. I myself can only tolerate a moderate General Tso's, medium salsa, wings etc, as I don't enjoy the way it makes my nose run. :) Though I've encountered a person or two in my travels who downs a ball of wasabi with the ease of a Campfire marshmallow, and aside from claiming to enjoy the heat it generates, then attributes it to his/her ability to ward off colds. Whether it entices the palate or offers holistic health, more fire power to ya!

    Responses to this comment
  • I chucked the bottle, Corine, for two reasons. One, I didn't want to risk over-doing it again. Second, one of my kids said I was being wimpy and he could take on Dave's. I didn't want him to try.

    Responses to this comment

Register or Login to leave a comment