Thursday, August 23, 2012

How Did I Not Know About This?: Sriracha and Food Aversion

I don’t know what has happened to me in the past couple years- maybe it was a hormone shift or finally processing the food aversion mental block. Either way, foods that I’ve literally spent a lifetime hating and avoiding- I was starting to like. I just look in the mirror and think- who is this woman? I’ve been avoiding things like salmon, jalapenos, raw tomatoes, mushrooms and spicy hot sauce for EVER and all of a sudden they make a reprise in my late twenties to critical acclaim.

I think the best cure for food aversions is to be a) embarrassed to be a woman nearing her thirties being a high maintenance eater or b) servers that forget stuff and get your order wrong. All of a sudden, they’ve forgotten you asked for dressing on the side. Total crisis. Everybody at the table has been waiting for their food and nobody wants to be an asshole and start chowing down while you are sitting at an empty place setting looking like Oliver Twist (please sir, may I have some more?) and you don’t want to be the asshole that is eating their entree when everybody else has moved on to desserts. Take this situation and multiply the pressure by one hundred if you are out on a date or a dinner with clients. Seriously, a client dinner is what introduced me to the glory that is the spicy tuna roll. There is just something that is innately childish about food aversions and while I’m totally comfortable keeping my pantry as I see fit- sometimes you just have to take one for the team in public.

My love affair with sriracha came about in such a way. It was a random tuesday here in Orange County. My best friend and I had just attended a blogger event and her boo met up with us at a little waffle sandwich and local beer restaurant called The Iron Press. As a pescatarian I automatically accept the fact that I may be limited to some sort of carb and melted cheese situation. The place was bumping. When places are bumping, you just kind of expect to be there for a while. We looked at the menu, surprisingly the grilled cheese stood out to me the most and it wasn’t even a question whether or not the lady would have the tater tots. The lady will always have the tater tots. The thing about these local foodie-lite joints is that you will always have to ask for any kind of “regular” non-infused or re-worked condiment. If my picky eating were a five, my best friend is easily an 8 or 9 so when we ordered a single round of tots- the waitress was met with three different sauce orders. To my chagrin, the sauce I was hoping for was the one that got left behind. So there I was, sitting face to face with a basket full of tots and sriracha infused ketchup. Whatever, I was one beer in, not really a crazy ketchup person and I’ve always been terrified of sauces with pictures of animals and what I’m sure is descriptive language of said sauce, but in a language I cannot read- it couldn’t hurt to give it a try before I ask the server to bring another option.

The tots and sauce that changed everything. Photo courtesy of

I tried the sriracha ketchup and it was delicious. Seriously, guys, it was so tasty I actually got a little pissed that nobody had MADE me try this before. This delicious sauce that apparently everybody knew about had been sitting mere inches away from me so many times and nobody ever thought to give me the hard-sell??? It’s irrelevant because we’ve found each other now. I stood in front of it’s house, Love Actually style, with a poster with “to me you are perfect” written on it. I ran out the next day to buy a bottle for myself.

Because I’m a weird people-pleaser I always try to keep condiments that other people like in my house. God forbid I make a dude breakfast and he just can’t eat his eggs without Tapatio. It’s one part co-dependence, one part good hostess. Either way, can I just blame Martha Stewart and my conservative Christian childhood? Ok, good, let’s go with that. A couple of weeks before the sriracha incident a guy I was dating introduced me to chipotle Tobasco, also delicious. Mild panic attack ensued. Am I becoming one of those hot sauce people? Is this the first step? Dear infant baby Jesus, please don’t let me become a person that cannot eat food without hot sauce.

Honestly, I’ve just really started to take stock into my food aversions and made the decision to challenge myself a bit. Read some new recipes or order something new when I go out. What else have I been missing out on? Let the adventure begin.

If the idea of sriracha Ketchup sounds tasty to you, or if you just want to mix it up for a party- just mix two parts ketchup with one part sriracha. If you want to expand your sriracha experience Bon Apetit has twenty-five suggestions for you. 

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