Hot sauce belongs to the people.
It should be on the table of every restaurant that serves beer. That's my rule. That would be my first decree as king of Hotlandia if there was such a place, and I was worthy of such a thing. Either way, we can pretend. Hot sauce comes from the Aztecs. Central America is the only reason the world has chilis, and the Aztecs started cultivating them around 9,000 years ago. They used to mix chilis with water and herbs to create the first sauces. They were also a lot more creative than that, using these concoctions as medicines, currency, and even a way to punish unruly children.
The Codex Mendoza illustrating how to punish bad children with smoke from burning chilis. Harsh.
Ok, normally I don't like to give Boston credit for much because it's fun to trigger Bostonians. In this case, Boston is responsible for importing the first ever hot sauce in 1807. "Cayenne Sauce" was first brought into the country through the port, and a few of these bottles actually survive to this day. I love Boston for this, and it's fun up there in the summertime. The Greater Boston area also has a large concentration of diners and restaurants that have hot sauce set out on the table for guests to try. Boston is a huge proponent of the for-the-people vibe, and there is a lot different comfort food options that ask for a spicy kick. We have love for Boston.
More hot sauce, more places. Well done, Denny's.
When is hot sauce appropriate to leave out for guests?
Having hot sauce available on a table for guests to try is a suggestion. It's a show of confidence as well as an enticing proposal. Patrons will scan menus and order dishes that pair with these sauces, and that's excellent marketing. The goal of restauranteurs and hot sauce makers is similar: get people curious about our products and order them. Conversely, it wouldn't be anything less than jarring to go into some kind of Japanese Omakase and see bottles of gaudily-colored labels depicting people or animals in various states of pain in baskets on tables.
However, fast food places, bars with food, Denny's, Cracker Barrel, Waffle House, and whichever other legendary staples that dot the landscape should offer something up. When I finally open my beachside bar and food place somewhere on the coast in Spain or on an island somewhere, you can bet there will be a generous offering of Neck Dart alongside local sauces available. Hot sauce represents adventure and excitement. When it's openly available on restaurant tables, it gives a feeling of abundance to guests, and adds a dimension to the relationship. Give the people a chance to try it for free, they'll get hooked. 🌶
See you on the beach.