An AWE-SAUCE History
AWE-SAUCE! How did it all start? It began with a lawnmower. Huh!? I’ll get back to this later. Both my parents were born in southern states. My father was from Louisiana, and my mother from Missouri. Their families came to the Chicago area as part of the Great Migration. With these southern roots, there was always a bottle of hot sauce in our kitchen growing up in Harvey, Illinois. At the same time my father always had a garden. Always.
Years later as a married adult, my small family moved from an apartment on Chicago’s north side to a duplex/townhouse in Evanston, Illinois. Our townhouse came with two parking spaces, a nice patio area, a small patch of grass, but no garage. The family we purchased the house from kept a lawnmower in the basement.
Facing the reality of carrying a lawnmower up the basement stairs once a week or every other week, and the fact I had to store gasoline, I needed to make some decisions. I thought to myself “There’s no way I’m carrying that lawnmower up the stairs to cut that small patch of grass. Let’s dig up the grass and put in a garden. Then we can get rid of the mower and gas can.” I broached the topic with my wife. Being a farm girl, whose parents always had a garden, like my father, she agreed. It started with a lawnmower.
In the first years of gardening we grew tomatoes, greens, lettuces, beans, peas, herbs and peppers. We started with green (bell), Jalapeno and Serrano peppers. Early on we made Mexican style salsas for meals we prepared, not really thinking about making hot sauces. After getting hooked on the heat of Jalapeno and Serrano peppers I decided to try my hand growing Habanero and Scotch Bonnet peppers. The idea of making hot sauce began to take root.
I’m no chef, but I’ve always loved to cook. I enjoy discovering new herbs and spices then pairing them in different dishes. Living in the Chicago area provides exposure to a range of ethnic cuisines. The dishes I like I try to emulate in my own cooking. This thinking has carried over into each hot sauce I create. Every sauce is based on an ethnic cuisine or a combination of them.