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Dave's Fiery Front Page

Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke

CPI Demo Garden

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Here is a partial view of the 2008 Chile Pepper Institute Demonstration Garden at NMSU in Las Cruces.  Every year, CPI plants 150-200 varieties of chiles to  educate visiting students, children, and  scientists. The Institute also sells seed of many of these varieties, including the super-hot 'Bhut Jolokia' at one million Scoville Heat Units.  Visit CPI here.

New Product Tasting Promotion

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: hot sauce , food trends , fiery foods

Attention Manufacturers. We are now giving you the opportunity to have your new products (less than one year old) tasted by our assistant editors using the Scovie Judging forms.  You will get a score for tasting and one for product packaging.  And the results will be published on this blog. There is no charge for this promotion, but you must sign a release giving us permission to publish the results of the taste test.  For more information, email me here.

Dr. BBQ Is Ready for Halloween

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: smoking , grilling


The good doctor observes: "Halloween is the best holiday of the year for people who like to cross-dress and beg. I must admit that while I've participated in many counter-culture activities, cross-dressing has never made the list, even on Halloween. It might be because there just aren't any good dresses in my size...." Read more, here.  

Label Printer a Bargain

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: manufacturing

Attention Manufacturers. I am helping a friend sell a Quick Label QLS-4100 Xe high- speed digital color label printer. Due to a change to a commercial label printing company, this machine has only been used twice. My friend paid $20,485 and he will sell it for half price, $10,242. Quick Label confirms that this printer is the latest model, it has the newest technology, and it is a workhorse. If anyone out there is interested, email me here.

Why Chiles Conquered America

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: history , fiery foods , chile peppers

I am constantly asked to explain the exponential growth of interest in chile peppers and the boom in fiery foods products in the U.S. over the past two decades. How did a meat and potatoes America become enamored of hot sauces, salsas, spicy snack food, chili con carne, and hundreds and hundreds of other fiery foods? First, we must look at the historical trends for why cooks add spices to their foods in the first place.  The article is here.

Map of North America, 1641

New Hot Poster Shop!

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

In cooperation with Allposters.com, I have assembled a collection of excellent posters covering chile peppers, fiery foods, beverages, and more.  The image on the left is titled "Three Chili Peppers," by artist Will Rafuse.  Curiously, I did not find any BBQ posters that I liked, so they will have to be added sometime in the future.  These posters and prints make great kitchen decorations, and since a certain important holiday--I forget the name--is looming in the near future, be sure to check out the SuperSite's Hot Poster Shop, here.

Why Cooks Spice Up Their Foods

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: science , history , chile peppers

 There are a number of explanations for why we have added spices such as chile peppers to our foods over the tens or hundreds of thousands of years that we have been cooking. They are:

--Spices make foods taste better.

--The "eat-to-sweat hypothesis"-eating spicy foods makes us cool down during hot weather.

--To disguise the taste of spoiled food.

--Spices add nutritional value to food.

--The antimicrobial hypothesis: spices kill harmful bacteria in food and aid in food preservation.

Which of these explanations are correct?  Read my article about it, here.



The Best Mustard Ever?

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: mustard , fiery foods

As far as I know, Lusty Monk mustards are the only fresh, refrigerated mustards produced in the United States.  Like fresh salsas, they must be sold from cold cases in shops and supermarkets.  There are two flavors, "Original Sin" and "Burn in Hell," a chipotle mustard.  These are simply the best mustards I have ever tasted--no offense to other mustard manufacturers.  You can order it from their website, here, and the site has some very good recipes for using the mustards, like Lobster Deviled Eggs, Chicken Breast in Parchment Paper, and How to Rescue Grocery Store Potato Salad.

Hot Sauce for Breakfast!

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: hot sauce , fiery foods


It may not surprise readers to discover that I have a rather unconventional breakfast each morning.  I love vegetable juice with hot sauce in it!  And being the fickle hot sauce consumer that I am, my favorite hot sauce varies from day to day.  Because we produce the Scovie Awards, I'm constantly tasting new sauces.  So here's what I love right now: upper left is Eswatini Swazi Fire Chilli Sauce, which is made in Swaziland, Africa.  It consists of hot chillis with onion and garlic in sunflower oil and vinegar.  Wonderful and you can order it here.  Next, upper right, is Susie's Hot Sauce that is produced by Rosemary McMaster in Antigua, West Indies (pronounced "ann-TEEG-uh").  It features habaneros, mustard, vinegar and spices and you can order it here.  And last but not least is Gila Venom, manufactured by Lizard's on the Bayou in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.  This sauce won First Place in the Habanero Hot Sauce Category in the 2008 Scovie Awards.  Because it also contains jalapeños, serranos, and cayennes, it is very hot but also extremely flavorful.  You can order this sauce here.

New NuMex Varieties from NMSU

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Dr. Paul Bosland of the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at NMSU and director of the Chile Pepper Institute, has announced the release of two new chile pepper cultivars, 'NuMex 6-4 Heritage' and 'NuMex Big Jim Heritage'.  The project was the result of observations from farmers that these two varieties were losing flavor and yield.  Beginning with seeds from the original '6-4' and 'Big Jim' varieties that had been in cryrogenic storage for more that 40 years, Paul grew out the old seeds and selected the best pods for the following year's planting.  This went on for 10 years! Finally, this year, a large field was planted that will result in seeds for farmers for next year's crop.  They will be available for farmers in January, 2009 and for home gardeners from the Chile Pepper Institute.  The research and work NMSU resulted in numerous improvements that include 20 percent more flavor compounds than the old Big Jim and 6-4 varieties, and will produce a better yield for farmers.  Pictured above is a basket of 'NuMex 6-4 Heritage'. Incidentally, in September, 2009 Timber Press will publish Paul's and my new book, The Complete Chile Pepper Book, with 240 color photos, many by our European editor, Harald Zoschke.

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