Food stuff 

"Hot, hot, hot!"

Soca artist Arrow had it right on the tune with that line. Of course, he was describing the sultry, sexy heat of his native Trinidad. But there are all kinds of heat, from the sun bearing down to that generated by the friction of bodies lustfully rubbing together.

And then there’s the heat offered up by the fruit kingdom in the form of peppers (because they contain seeds, peppers are technically fruit). From shiny jalapeño to the colorful habanero, from the rich and flavorful chili to the sweet and long banana, peppers spice up our palates and lives.

The real test of a pepper is in the eating, and most often that means hot sauce. But, oh, what sauciness there is available. For the true heat fanatic there are numerous avenues to heaven. And for some that means a trip straight through hellfire. Well, I’ve finally found a hot sauce that qualifies. Forget Tabasco, it’s mostly vinegar and tastes like it. Louisiana hot sauce? Well, I used to think it was hot, but now I know that’s just for amateurs.

Step into a store such as the Hot Zone in Royal Oak or Fire In the Market in Detroit’s Gratiot Central Market Building and you’ll find shelves and shelves loaded with some of the hottest concoctions known. Imagine what you get from sauces with names such as Hot Buns on the Beach, Pleasure & Pain, Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally, Taste the Pain, Dave’s Total Insanity Sauce, Blair’s Death Sauce, Hot ’N’ Horny, Jump Up and Kiss Me, and Ass In Anarctica. They aren’t bad; they get the job done for the average heat-seeker.

The hottest sauce that I find actually edible is Kick Yo’ Ass sauce. It’s the hottest offering at Fire In the Market.

But for heat beyond imagination, Da’ Bomb Beyond Insanity stands head and shoulders above the rest. It’s inedible for the average palate. Made from a paste of habanero peppers (the hottest in the world), one drop on the tongue will keep the furnace burning for hours. The Mo Hotta Mo Betta catalog of all things hot at 1-800-462-3220 or online includes the Scoville heat units for each offering. Da’ Bomb is listed at 119,000 units. Its closest competition is Mad Dog Inferno, with an 89,560 rating. Dave’s Total Insanity rolls in at 48,000. The Scoville Unit of Measure was created in 1912 by Parker Davis pharmacologist Wilbur Scoville.

There is one sauce hotter than Beyond Insanity. It’s Da’ Bomb Ground Zero, measuring 234,000 units.

"I’ve got people who eat it like crazy," says Ken Aronson, co-owner of the Hot Zone.

I can’t imagine it. I’ve got a bottle of Ground Zero. It sits on a shelf. I look at it and try to imagine what it would be like to eat some. Maybe someday I will. –Larry Gabriel


Need brown-bag inspiration? Go to Whole Foods Market at 2880 W. Maple in Troy at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 21, for a free demo on preparing healthier school lunches. … Mac & Ray’s (30675 North River Rd., Harrison Twp.) own chef Jeff Baldwin presents a lesson in adding class to your potluck dishes this Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $38, and include dinner. Call 810-463-9660, ext. 437 for reservations. … Help local charities and learn about Vietnamese cuisine at the first annual International Night at the Fox: A Journey to Vietnam, on Saturday, Aug. 28, at the Fox Theatre. Celebrated chef Keith Famie will tell about his adventures and show his new television special. There’ll be food, too. Tickets are $25 through Ticketmaster (248-645-6666).

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