There’s an internet show called Hot Ones, and it’s about eating hot wings. That’s a pretty disingenuous description, so let me expand on that. There are hot wings, yes, but that’s just the backdrop for the actual show. Sean Evans is the host, and there are ten wings in front of him. He has a celebrity guest on the other side of the table (sometimes two if they’re paired in any way) who also has ten wings in front of them (or five if it’s a shortened episode). He asks them questions as they eat the wings, starting from mild hot sauce to ‘why the fuck am I eating this?’ hot sauce.
I don’t know how I started watching. Maybe someone showed me an episode, but more likely I saw an episode online somewhere. Either on someone’s social media or because I went down a rabbit hole, and I was hooked. I watched several episodes based on the guest. There are ten seasons, so I was hopping all over the place. I will note that the interviewer is easy on the eyes in a working class, I will kick your ass kind of way.
Before I get deeper into the show, let me share with you my love for the hot sauce. Or rather, how I used to love hot sauce. My brother and I had a friendly competition to see who could give each other the hottest hot sauce. It morphed into one of us giving the other a bottle for Christmas. Same wrapping paper every year, and maybe even the same box. It was fun, and I would obsessively look for the hottest sauce. I don’t remember the year, and I can’t find it on the Googles, but it’s at least ten years ago. Probably more like fifteen. Anyway, I found this bottle of hot sauce that had just come out, and it claimed to be the hottest hot sauce ever.
It had the picture of a nuclear bomb on it, and it was, indeed, called ‘Da Bomb’. Tagline: Beyond Insanity. I bought two bottles–one for myself–and I made a huge pot of chili and put three drops in it. It even suggested you put one drop in for a pot of chili. I was macho, though, and I put in three drops. Big mistake. My throat closed, and I could feel the heat coursing through my veins. It was the most pain I’d felt in my life, and I couldn’t even finish the pot. I gave the other bottle to my brother with a warning. A few days later, he informed me that the competition was off.
As a side note, when the Carolina Reaper was invented in 2013, my brother sent me an email saying, “Competition back on?” I laughed and declined because I was off that tip by then. I wanted flavor with my spice, and when it’s that hot, you can’t taste anything but the heat. Da Bomb in particular was nasty. It was nothing but heat, and it wasn’t even good heat. It was acrid and vinegary, and there was no pleasure with the pain.