“Why do you keep checking the ingredients?” I asked Sammy.
“There’s no way this isn’t real meat,” he said, skeptical. With some of the products listed below, you would never know.
I’m not suggesting you turn into a hippie vegetarian. I’m not even talking about the health benefits because each brand differs. I’m only trying to pass the word that some of the products you see advertised in restaurants, on TV, and all over the internet are incredibly delicious.
Other than a slashing burn on your tongue, gums, and delicate throat, Da’ Bomb hot sauce offers your guts twisting cramps that begin at the base of your insides then dillydally through your organs and fat bubbles to your lower back. There it lingers until it casually fades leaving a dull ache. You are then gifted with about five minutes of hope that it has passed, until the warmth reappears and recycles with its crimson heat.
This challenge is the product of a well-calculated peer-pressure type event, and in my case, it was caused by my oldest son, Tyler. He watched a show called Hot Ones on YouTube that is hosted by the babyface, soft-spoken Sean Evans.
Evans speaks with the enthusiasm of a middle-schooler proudly reciting the preamble to the Constitution with a background of inspirational Olympicesque tunes all while directing your eyes with his finger guns. On his porcelain palette of a cleanly shaven head he wears a neatly manicured red beard and mesmerizing psychopathic green eyes. The angel of light shares the experience with his guest, reacting like a crying defendant with no wet tears.
Evans interviews celebrities like Idris Elba, Kristin Bell, Paul Rudd, and my favorite, Pete Davidson while they eat wings, sometimes bird, sometimes vegan. The sauce used on the wings becomes progressively hotter forcing the interviewee to be stripped down to their vulnerable, gelatinous core. And you can’t look away.
“Hot sauce has a way of humbling you, especially this one,” Sean Evans said in an interview with Drew Barrymore in August of 2020 via Zoom. He was speaking of their seemingly hottest sauce, which is number 8 out of 10. It’s called Da’ Bomb. (See below.)
As the veteran actor is visibly distraught from the effects of the bite she just took which was dressed in Da’ Bomb, Evans politely continues to rattle off questions about her career and daily life, a tactic he uses in all of his 219 episodes, showing no remorse or concern as he inquires. It’s brilliant!
I wondered why Tyler kept asking me if I watched the show so I did, and became hooked. Then, Tye said he ordered some of the sauces from the show, and that’s when my nerves started. We tried it. It was me, my three youngest sons, and our family friend, Ben. I tried to talk them out of it and especially concentrated my lessons of peer pressure on my youngest, Baylee.
I took some Morning Star Farms Chik’N nuggets, dunked them in the sauce that’s the color of dried blood, then baked them for 18 minutes. The world stopped as our past few days of anticipation was finally in our sites. We all took a bite, and while I was taking my second, the boys’ eyebrows lowered, and their weight shifted from foot to foot. Their mouths were opened like comedic alligators and their hyperventilating breaths were doing no good with the inhaling and exhaling “hees” and “haws.”
They paced and did pirouettes with their six-foot frames as their inner little boys took over causing them to alternate guzzling milk and lemon-lime Gatorade. The constant dancing and drinking lead them to the bathroom or nearest trash can where they unintentionally gifted their mouths with another taste of the putrid mash. I posted a video of our challenge for your diabolical enjoyment.
It burns down deep through the thin skin at the roof of your mouth through your nostrils creating the most unattractive drip. There is an overwhelming desire to wipe your eyes and dab your forehead which is thinly veiled in a cold sweat, not like you just ran a mile, but like you’re ill with the flu. You tell yourself not to lick your lips and no matter how hard you try not to, you just do with the instinct of a dog who kicks the ground after he pees.
There’s a sense of camaraderie that accompanies the challenge. People don’t just do this without video evidence or by themselves on a Tuesday night. That would be weird. It’s social. They do it to complement their fists while they pound their chests, to simply create new commiseration material, or for a spicy dose of relativity, as told my son, Baylee, 14.
After his pain began to subside, he said, “I feel really good, like better than I did yesterday.”