The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


January 29, 2014

Amanda Stone: Sriracha, a tableside standard, turns up the heat

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Since winter insists on sticking around, I suggest we revert to more primal forms of warmth: I'm talking about inner heat.

When you're cooking for your family but you're the only one who wants to feel the burn, you learn to settle for spice on the side.

Crushed red pepper sits dutifully near my plate at many meals, while my cabinet holds a hodgepodge of bottles containing fiery liquids in shades of green or red.

I wanted no part of the burn for most of my life. I was pregnant when my taste buds demanded more. Now I can't get enough. I prefer to cry myself through meals, tissues at my side to dab my dripping nose. I don't discriminate against burns; I love the nasal pain of wasabi and horseradish and the mouth burn of hot peppers. Inflamed lips are part of the deal, and you must learn to accept it. So, grab your lip balm, and stay with me.

Sriracha hot sauce is one of my go-to condiments when I want some spice. With its iconic rooster label and bright-red zip, it's a staple in many homes and restaurants.

Sriracha has become so essential that when the company was facing issues in November, many fans of the sauce dubbed the time "Srirachapocalypse." Apparently, the Sriracha factory was emitting fumes that caused people who live near the factory to have burning eyes and scratchy throats. It's hot stuff. I admit feeling a little sweaty and anxious, too, when I learned that I may never be able to purchase Sriracha again. There's nothing like it. Luckily, the dilemma was solved, and the iconic hot sauce is set to resume distribution. Thank goodness.

I hear the Super Bowl is coming up soon. I only see this event as an opportunity to eat yummy food. This year, experiment with some spicy snacks. Add a little zip to standard chili and chicken wings, and try some recipes with a kick.

The beautiful thing about spicy food is that most people eat less of it and drink more water. Use Super Bowl party guests as guinea pigs: If there is food left over, then you'll know it was too spicy for most folks.

Spice up your Super Bowl snacks with these recipes.


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