Pros: Tons of spicy information, tall tales, and quirky personality. Don’t forget the delicious recipes!
Cons: None so far
Rating: 5 out of 5
Review book provided courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Jennifer Trainer Thompson’s Hot Sauce!: Techniques for Making Signature Hot Sauces, with 32 Recipes to Get You Started; Includes 60 Recipes for Using Your Hot Sauces is a verbal love affair with hot sauces of all kinds. The author writes with style and wit, including plenty of spicy tales to keep things interesting. Her enthusiasm for her subject rings through loud and clear.
Hot Sauce! covers just about anything and everything you could imagine related to the topic at hand. It delves into history, ingredients, regional differences, and even the history of our modern love affair with the stuff. You’ll find full-color gorgeous photographs to show you the unique labels hot sauce companies have come out with, not to mention photos of all sorts of hot peppers and other ingredients.
There are, of course, recipes for the hot sauces themselves. When using fresh peppers, it’s worth noting that any given crop of peppers, even within the same variety, can be more or less spicy depending on the growing conditions they were subjected to. So the heat of your sauce may end up being more dependent on the current state of your store’s produce than on precise ratios of ingredients. Still, there are plenty of recipes and tips in here to help you make things to whatever heat level you prefer!
Once you have your hot sauce, of course, you’ll need something to use it on, or in. Thankfully the book also comes with quite a few recipes for dishes that go particularly well with hot sauce. Although I didn’t have the chance to make as many recipes out of this book before review as I usually would, the ones we tried came out wonderfully. There’s a chicken tortilla soup in here that’s fantastic, and once you’ve made your hot sauce it’s easy to add more to taste until it matches your preferences. I should note that there are also quite a few spicy drinks to try out!
Finally, Ms. Thompson wraps up with some details on getting into the hot sauce business, just in case you, like so many others, believe you’ve come up with the perfect recipe.
The layout of the recipes is clean, clear, and easy to read. The photographs are beautiful. Each hot sauce or recipe comes with recommendations on which to pair together. And you’ll even find a list of resources as well as an extensive index.
Although unforeseen circumstances kept me from being as thorough as usual with recipe testing during the time this book was made available to me, I enjoyed reading it quite thoroughly, and found no problems with the things I did try.