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Dave's Fiery Front Page

Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke

New DD Books Published

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: history , fiery foods , entertainment , books

1001 Best CoverI'm pleased to announce the publication of two new books of mine.  The first, 1001 Best Hot & Spicy Recipes, is a compilation assembled from my rather large recipe archives.  I went through them and selected what I considered to be the best and most representative recipes from all cultures that like to spice up their foods with chiles.  Together with last year's The Complete Chile Pepper Book, these are all you would need to be certified an official chilehead.  I submitted a total of 1059 recipes just to be sure there were enough!  You can order the book at a discount from Amazon, here.

The next book is one that I'm really proud of.  For the second time (after Da Vinci's Kitchen), I abandoned writing about chiles and hot and spicy to try my hand at food Founding Foodies Coverhistory.  Because I graduated from the University of Virginia ("Mr. Jefferson's academical village"), I've always been a fan of Thomas Jefferson, and when I started researching his farming and gardening, that led me to George Washington (a better farmer, actually) and Benjamin Franklin, one of the more famous early American food lovers.  After three and a half years of research and writing, I completed The Founding Foodies: How Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin Revolutionized American Cuisine.  My agent, Scott Mendel, believes that it is one of my best books ever, and I take that a step further:  I think it's the best book I've ever written.  It's not scheduled for release until November 1, but you can pre-order it at Amazon, here.  You will not be disappointed, I promise.  Early American cuisine was surprisingly sophisticated, and both Washington and Jefferson grew chile peppers in their gardens.  Everyone loved barbecue back in those days--when it was mostly a political event featuring smoked ox or whole hogs, plus, of course, a great amount of beer and whiskey.  For more information and some excerpts from the book, see my founding foodies website, here.


Digital Magazine Survey Results

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

 

Burn!The final results of our digital magazine survey are in and the survey is now over. Thanks to everyone who participated and we now have a clearer view of what people are looking for in a monthly digital magazine.  As far as the basic information goes, the total respondents to the survey was 184 and the gender totals are 71% male and 29% female.  Only 19% are under 35 years of age while 81% are 36+, including 47% over the age of 46.  When asked if they would subscribe to a monthly digital magazine from the SuperSite publishers, 52% said maybe, 38% said yes, and 10% said no. (This by itself is very encouraging.)  We also asked if readers wanted a male-oriented magazine (15.2% said yes), a world travel and food magazine (12.1% said yes), a recipe-oriented magazine (12.1% said yes).  By far, recording 60.6%, people basically want us to continue what we started in 1987 with Chile Pepper magazine, continued in 1997 with Fiery Foods & BBQ, and are still doing with the SuperSite, namely a magazine devoted to chiles, fiery foods, and barbecue with articles, recipes, and how-to, so that's exactly what we intend to do.  We finally asked people to choose their three favorite cuisines, and the results were very revealing:

Mexican, 52.5%
American Barbecue, 49.5%
American Southwest, 47.5%
Asian, 40.4%
Creole/Cajun, 34.3%
Italian, 34.3%
Caribbean, 19.2%
India, 17.2%

So, in April, 2011, we will launch Burn! For Lovers of Peppers, Smoke, and Sauce, and the first issue will be introduced at the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, March 4-6.  More details are coming soon, so stay tuned!


Peppered Seals?

Posted by: Kelli Bergthold

peppered sealPepper spray has a long history of being used for self defense against both humans and wild animals. It’s an effective, non-lethal weapon that can keep people safe without having to resort to brute force. The active ingredient in pepper spray is oleoresin capsicum, which is a wax-like resin extracted from finely ground capsicum converted into an aerosol. The most common uses of pepper spray are against dogs and bears, which are known to attack humans and domestic animals. In Alaska, for instance, it’s common to take a can of pepper spray with on walks and other outdoor excursions just in case. In Coyote Country in the Southwestern United States, residents rely on pepper spray to protect their children and pets from hungry critters.

Now, fishermen along the Tasmanian coast in the South Pacific are trying out pepper spray on aggressive bull seals. Dangerous seal encounters are a recent phenomenon; in the past decade, as competition for food lures the animals closer to shore, aggressive bull seals are becoming a very real risk.

"People have been bowled over, literally, by the seals trying to charge past them. Divers have been nipped, they've had their fins nipped, they've been dragged underwater," says Pheroze Jungalwalla from the Tasmanian Salmonoid Growers Association.

To counter-act the attacks, the state government is encouraging fishermen to carry pepper spray. Fishermen are first trained in the use of pepper spray to prevent accidental injury. There are doubts whether pepper spray will really work against a two-ton bull seal, but it’s a possible alternative to shooting aggressive animals that are being driven into dangerous encounters by a lack of other food sources.

Source:

ABC News: Peppered Seal the New Fish Farm Defense



ThrowdownRippin’ Red Wing Sauce, the newest product from Rizzotti Foods, LLC will be going head to head with the one and only DEFCON Sauces! The gauntlet was thrown in a thread on peppersandmore.com in August, and both Rippin’ Red Wing Sauce and DEFCON have accepted the challenge.

“It is an honor and pleasure to challenge the mighty DEFCON sauces. We have nothing but respect and admiration for John Dilley and his products,” said Rizotti Foods owner John Rizzotti.Rippin Red Hot Wing Sauce

Hosted by Peppers and More, the contest will feature a blind taste test using tasters who have never tried either of the two sauces. The sauces will be judged on a list of four criteria, rating the food with a 1 to 5 number system, 5 being the best:

  1. How well does the sauce cling/stick to wings? 1-2-3-4-5
  2. Aroma? 1-2-3-4-5
  3. Color of sauce 1-2-3-4-5
  4. Overall taste? 1-2-3-4-5Defcon Sauces

To find out more about the Throwdown, visit www.scottrobertsweb.com, or read the original thread on www.peppersandmore.com!

Learn more about the challengers: DEFCON Sauces and Rippin' Red Wing Sauces.


A study in the journal Cancer Research appears to link capsaicin, a component of chili peppers, to skin cancer. This is a misinterpretation of the data, according to SuperSite Publisher Dave DeWitt, international authority on chili peppers and author of more than forty books about peppers, including The Healing Powers of Peppers. The study was focused specifically on the topical application of capsaicin, not on chili peppers as food. To quote the study itself, “capsaicin alone does not act as a carcinogen.”

Toxic Chemicals Caused Tumors, Not Capsaicin

Researchers at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, treated the skin of mice with a mixture of TPA and DMBA, two powerful and highly toxic tumor-producing chemicals. The mice were virtually guaranteed to develop skin cancer. Some were treated with a mixture of the chemicals plus capsaicin, and some were treated with capsaicin only.

While study results indicated that combining capsaicin with the chemicals “might promote cancer cell survival,” the report clearly stated that the control group of mice treated only with capsaicin “…did not induce any skin tumors…” In addition, the study repeatedly cited other research studies in which the anti-cancer properties of capsaicin were solidly demonstrated. A link to the full article can be found here.


Deep Fried BeerMany wondered which deep fried concoctions would snag the Big Tex Choice awards for Most Creative and Best Taste at the 2010 State Fair of Texas; this year’s winner for “most creative” fried food is something every football-loving, beer-guzzling guy dreams of—Fried Beer. It’s really a deep fried pretzel pocket filled with Guinness, but the process doesn’t burn off the alcohol, so the recipe is strictly 21 and over.

“I was lazy,” said inventor Mark Zable of his motives for frying up a pocket of battered beer. Zable, who runs a Belgium waffle stand at the fair, has been a Big Tex Choice finalist twice before.

The Big Tex Choice award for Best Taste went to Texas Fried Frito Pie from the boys over at Bert’s Burgers & Fries stand. It’s a combination of Texas chili, sharp cheddar cheese and Frito corn chips lightly battered and deep fried, and according to its creator, it takes tastes back to the Golden Age of Fair Food.

Other entries included Deep Fried S'mores Pop Tarts, Fried Chocolate, Deep Fried Frozen Margaritas, Fried Lemonade, Fernie’s Fried Club Salad and Fried Texas Caviar.

Want more fried State Fair delicacies? Click here!


South Africans Unite with BBQ

Posted by: Kelli Bergthold

Tagged in: tasty travel , holidays , history , grilling

Braai4heritage Poster 2010This September, South Africans will be looking forward to a big event. No, the World Cup isn’t making a repeat appearance; instead they’ll be turning their attention to another one of South Africa’s pastimes – barbeque. The word braai is Afrikaans for “barbeque” and is an immensely popular pastime in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. September 24 marks South Africa’s National Braai Day, a celebration of the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Similar to a potluck, braaing is a laid back social event. Families and friends get together at a picnic spot or at someone’s home to cook meat and vegetables over an open flame. For most, it doesn’t matter what goes on the braai, so long as it’s good. Popular meat choices include kebabs, marinated chicken, pork and lamb chops, steaks, and seafood in coastal areas. Along with meat and vegetables, South Africans include a dish called “pap,” a thick porridge made from corn.

Nobel Peace laureate and Emeritus Archbishop, Desmond Tutu is the patron of National Braai Day, and has called on South Africans across the globe to throw some meat on the braai to honor the nation’s multi-cultural heritage and the fall of apartheid. While the 78-year-old will be retiring from public life this year, he says will remain the patron of the braai campaign, which aims to unite South Africans in an activity enjoyed by all demographic groups and religious denominations.

“The important thing is all of us on that one day again getting together and just enjoying the fact of being South Africans,” said the Archbishop.

Of course, you don’t have to be a South African to enjoy National Braai Day. Fire up your grill on September 24, throw some meat on the coals, and celebrate along with them!

Learn more about National Braai Day here.


Food Books That Make You Think

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: smoking , science , history , entertainment , books

Savage Barbecue, by Andrew WarnesFood history is a relatively new scholarly discipline, going back onlyCatching Fire, by Richard Wrangham about thirty years.  It evolved from two seemingly disparate human endeavors, cooking and recording general history.  The late food historian Karen Hess observed in 1981: “Few scholars are cooks—and fewer cooks scholars. Perhaps this accounts for the fact that no other aspect of human endeavor has been so neglected by historians as home cooking.” And not only has home cooking been neglected as a subject for historians, so have the history of food ingredients, inns and restaurants, food philosophy, and food in culture—until the last three decades.

Before then, accounts of culinary subjects were “regarded as relevant only to a kind of anthropology of ceremony,” in the words of Paul Freedman, editor of Food: The History of Taste. He goes on to point out that the history of cuisine had been viewed as part of the history of fashion, “hence of frivolity.” In other words, not a serious subject for a historian to explore.  But how that has changed!  The turning point seems to be the publication of Food in History by Reay Tannahill in 1973. It was a bestseller then and is still in print and in the revised and expanded edition published in 1988, Tannahill commented: “When the idea of Food in History first occurred to me, I was mystified by the fact that no one had already written such a book.” Indeed, The New York Times book reviewer observed: “Here at last is what may serve as the first textbook for what should become a new sub-discipline; call it Alimentary History I.” Tannahill continued, “And it came to pass. Since 1973 there has been unprecedented academic interest in the subject and a spate of books on different aspects of it.”  And whether you call it alimentary history, food history, or cooking history, for me it is completely fascinating.

In Savage Barbecue:Race, Culture, and the Invention of America's First Food, Andrew Warnes searches for the origin of barbecue and is alternately overly scholarly and very interesting, especially when he finds great quotes, like this one from journalist David Dudley: "Barbecue's appeal isn't hard to fathom and may explain why barbecue cookery seems such a Neanderthal corner of modern gastronomy.  It elegantly embraces several stereotypically Guy Things: fire building, beast slaughtering, fiddling with grubby mechanical objects, expensive gear fetishes, afternoon-long beer drinking, and, of course, great heaps of greasy meat at the end of the day.  Top this off with the frisson of ritual tribal warfare and you've got the mother of all male pastimes."

Another scholar, Richard Wrangham, in Catching Fire, tracks the origin of cooking over fire back to Homo erectus, the immediate precursor of Homo sapiens, some 1.8 million years ago.  This was about the time mankind first controlled fire, and he notes: "Effects of cooking include extra energy, softer food, fireside meals, and a more predictably food supply during periods of scarcity.  Cooking would therefore be expected to increase survival, especially of the vulnerable young.

Both books are highly recommended but with a warning that they tend to be quite academic in places.  Warnes is a Lecturer in American Literature and Culture at Leeds University in England and Wrangham is the Ruth Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University.


Fiery Foods Show 2010There has been misinformation flying around on certain Chilehead blogs about the National Fiery Foods & BBQ Show. Some folks have been trying to compare our show with a competing show in Texas (which was recently purchased by new people who just managed to put up a website, and no longer has the backing of a certain food magazine that can’t seem to publish a magazine any more).

One comment claimed that the National Fiery Foods & BBQ Show was much larger (that part is correct), but the show in Texas was ‘more fun’ because of free alcohol and parties. Question: exactly why do companies exhibit at shows? Is it to have fun and get free booze? Or is it to promote your product to the largest possible audience? That’s the difference between a festival and a trade show.

Exhibiting at any show is costly and time consuming. Sometimes it’s a lot of fun. So if you’re going to spend that money, doesn’t it make sense to direct your energy where you’ll get the most bang for your buck? The Fiery Foods & BBQ Show is the place.

And about that imagined absence of buyers at the Fiery Foods & BBQ Show. We’re in our 23rd year, and every year our buyer list expands—you do the math. It’s a proven fact that many buyers come to our show every year and make their buying decisions based on what they see.

We appreciate everyone who participates in the Fiery Foods & BBQ Show, either as a buyer, exhibitor, or attendee. Trying to decide which show will be the best for your company? That’s your call. But at the end of the day, Albuquerque is still home to the biggest, the longest running, the Hottest Show on Earth!

Lois Manno
Editor, www.fiery-foods.com
Sunbelt Shows

PS:  Chilehead blogger Scott Roberts has a poll up about what show you would attend in 2011 if you only had one show to go to.  If you like our show, please take his poll (3 seconds max) that is here.


Ciudad Juárez Then and Now

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: restaurants

Waiters and Chefs at Martino's, 2003.  Photo by Bobby Byrd.I used to spend a lot of time in Juárez back when it was one of my favorite Mexican cities. Back in the late '70s, I was producing custom car shows at the El Paso Civic Center, and in the '80s I was visiting NMSU a lot to research chile peppers, so a trip across the border was not only commonplace, it was a lot of fun. There was a great mercado, my favorite tile shop, a very nice furniture store, and of course the La Florida Bar and one of my favorite restaurants, Martino's on Avenida de Juárez. Mary Jane and I took our first trip together when we visited El Paso and Juárez in 1984, and of course we had to dine at the romantic Martino's, which was like a trip back to another century, with waiters in tuxes, elegant service, gourmet food, and a wonderful menu including Boquilla Black Bass, a delicacy from Lake Boquilla in Chihuahua. I remember getting nearly drunk because of bar-hopping with Doug Kane, and when my brother Rick visited, I warned him that the margaritas at La Florida were very potent. He didn't listen and I caught him when he passed out and fell off the bar stool.

 

After Mexican Mafia thugs sprayed Martino's with a hail of bullets and slaughtered the customers and waiters in late 2007, the restaurant sadly closed after more than 80 years in business. With soldiers from Ft. Bliss in El Paso banned from going there, and students from New Mexico State University strongly advised to stay away, tourism in Juárez is dead. In October 2008, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported, “The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory on Tuesday, warning Americans of daylight shootings at shopping centers in Juárez and suggesting applicants for U.S. visas at the consulate in Juárez not pay in cash to avoid getting mugged while in line.” That year, more than 2,000 people were murdered in that border city.

Juárez Today

“What's Up,” the El Paso entertainment blog, commented: “The drug war in Mexico has taken 800 lives so far this year (2010) along with another casualty: the Avenida de Juarez. The once-thriving stretch of bars and nightclubs known by El Pasoans, especially teenagers, as the Juarez Strip has become a ghost town and a symbol of the estrangement between El Paso and Juárez, two communities once closely bound by commerce, culture, family and yes, fun.”  All of this is incredibly sad to me.


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