So, yeah. I haven’t done a nice cooking article in a while. But that’s probably because I’ve been in a bit of a food rut for a bit. I guess you could say it was something akin to this, but with me and a great deal less comedy (or something like that):
I cook the majority of my meals myself, only occasionally going out to eat or if I’m really lazy, buying precooked soft noodles and tossing assorted appropriate leftovers into a bowl for a zippy but dull lunch or supper. Oh, don’t go weeping into your freshly made consommé, kids – this story has a point! Anyway, about two weeks back I was dinking around the former Deals (which is now a Dollar Tree) picking up a loaf of nice Pepperidge Farms pumpernickel and I spied something that took me back about 30 or so years.
The last time I’d seen a bottle of Lingham’s Hot Sauce it was in a somewhat run down Chinese restaurant that had wonderful food that defied the dingy decor. I recall that bottle because I’d asked for something spicy off the menu that wasn’t “Americanized” and one of the waiters popped by with my order and a bottle of Lingham’s on the side. He put the plate down in front of me, the bottle next to it and as he turned away, nodded with what could be described as a “You asked for it, pal!” grin. Well, I did ask for it and I got it in the form of Lingham’s Extra Hot Sauce, which was exactly what it said. I was fooled because I’d previously only had the Original Hot Sauce up to that point and my brain was expecting that same lovely sweet spiciness and not dragon flames and my tongue punching me in the face for a few minutes after taking that first bite.
My experience with the Original goes back many more years when a rotisserie joint near a relative’s place used that sauce as an addition to their recipe for barbecue sauce and put it on everything from chicken to french fries to spaghetti, all of which were quite amazing. All those memories flooding back made me buy that bottle and poke around for more on the shelves. Unfortunately, it was the last one for the time being. A clerk at the store noted that I could order a case of it and have it shipped to the store for pickup, but I was well ahead of him on that front. Unfortunately, it wasn’t on the website at all and I had to hoof it back over a few days later to see if they’d restocked. I was greeted by an empty space on my second visit and a sole, opened bottle on my next one. One reason we can’t have nice things around here is thanks to those folks who think a grocery store is a tasting menu and they can just pop open anything and stick it back on the shelf (grrrr).
My third attempt was met with more emptiness, but I lucked out earlier when on a whim I popped by the shop to pick up some sea salt. At the last minute I figured I’d check on that Lingham’s and was rewarded with seeing freshly places stock all ready for my hot little hands. I ended up taking five Original plus one Extra Hot (because, hey – it was painfully tasty 30 years back), leaving enough for anyone else who dropped by. Unless the manager and cashier I spoke to about how awesome Lingham’s decided to buy up the remaining stock themselves. Anyway, I think that takes care of my (formerly) dull food thing that was keeping me away from my keyboard for a bit. This stuff is like gold and yes, goes well with just about anything. I told a friend about my find and he laughed as he relayed a story about his wife eating homemade vanilla ice cream with Lingham’s Original on top as a sauce when she was pregnant. Yikes, but now I want to try that out – well, after I jazz my chicken and rice recipe up a few notches.
(thanks, Hideki Nishizawa!)
This stuff is SO good it would make a shoe edible – just ask Charlie! Only FOUR ingredients and it’s been around since 1908 without changing a thing? That’s pretty darn special if you ask me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go to sleep and dream about what I’m going to cook this weekend. Go get yourselves a bottle or two of Lingham’s. I’ll have to try the rest of their lineup at some point, but I think I’ll have too much fun with what I have (which shouldn’t last long given my idea stream once it gets cooking).