Wow. Evidently yesterday's post (Pass The Ketchup) struck a chord in us all. I received tons of response to that one. Just when you think you're all alone in the shitstorm and all that rot... eh? And it is truly touching how many of you are still clinging to those precious bottles of Brudda J's. I have the recipe, got plenty of empty bottles still, and would love to make a batch for Christmas, but funds (lack thereof - honey and tequila are too expensive for me at present) may prohibit that - plus the fact that cooking the stuff makes my skin and eyes feel like that creepy German guy when he foolishly opens the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones. Reckon I could always cook it outside over the fire... add a smoky essence to it maybe. Hmmm. Wha'dya say, Brudda J? Do I get a nod or a thwap upside the head on that?
Brudda J's... I still like to, in the spirit of John, spring the stuff on the unsuspecting (I call it Pulling a J). I like to watch others experience what John always referred to as "the slow burn." Last time I had the opportunity was a few months ago. Scott's son Mark was over for dinner and was looking for something to add a bit of heat to whatever it was I cooked. He asked for Tabasco, but I was fresh out. But. (Cue: Wicked Evil Grin followed by Low Maleficent Chuckle)
Let me describe Mark first. The lad stands 6'5" and is packing probably 250 lbs of mostly muscle. He's got dark, brooding good looks that put me in mind of Dave Matthews. He's a smartass like his Daddy, is very highly intelligent, and could easily intimidate anyone if he was to try. Fortunately he's normally somewhat mild mannered, but it's obvious he could be one tough hombre, given the right motivation. Point is, he's no shrinking violet. Point is, I wouldn't play in his sandbox without invitation. Savvy? Ok then.
So, I said, "Sorry, no Tabasco, but oh man, Mark. Have I got some great hotsauce for you to try though... heh heh heh... if you think you're up to it. Honey, tequila, habaneros and some other secret ingredients all cooked together in a screamin' melange by the late great Brudda J. Gotta warn ya though, this stuff will make you cry like a little girl." Mark rolled his eyes as if to say, "Dames. Whadoo they know," and gave me the "bring it on" gesture. Again I issued the caveat, "I'm serious. Just put a dab on your plate and try it first. This stuff will strip the enamel off your teeth." Even Scott, noting my underlying seriousness, chimed in, "You might want to listen to her." Of course, Mark being the young, full of bravado, intrepid, adventurous, disbelieving, foolhardy idiot of the day completely ignored my advice and summarily doused his meal with a good couple of tablespoons of the stuff. I stood back, eyebrow raised, suppressing a giggle and biting back a rather largish knowing grin, and waited. Watched as Mark took a tremendous forkful of whatever, hoisted it into his mouth. "Mmm. Not bad," he said around a mouth full of food as he continued to chew. And then, and then, and gentlemen, and then.... the eyes widen, the tears come unbidden, the chewing stops as the mouth tries to create a cavern that will never contain the imaginary flames that are now blazing unhindered around the soft tissue of the inside of the mouth, sweat immediately breaks out on the brow, then an obvious decision toward quick chewing in an attempt to get the stuff sized down to swallowing proportion in a further attempt to just get it done and over with, then the inevitable swallow. Oh, the beauty of the moment... the glorious reward... the cough, the initial exhaling "hooooooo" followed by the fool sucking in a deep breath (didn't anyone ever explain that oxygen feeds fire?!)... and... wait for it.... the high-pitched squeak that would be the envy of any Castrato, slowly, "Ohhhh.... my.... ffffreeeeekin'.... gawwwwwd!"
And me. Just standing there. Classic Black family smirk on my face. "Told you so." Which was followed by a baleful glare from Poor Little Lava Boy as he made his second classic mistake of the evening (the first being: when a woman tells a man something that is for his own good, he should oughta listen. Dammit.). His second grievous error was running for the sink, turning the faucet on full blast cold and sticking his mouth right into the stream for a drink. Hey, honestly, I would have warned him that water only makes it worse but clearly he didn't want my advice, right? See, water only cools the burn for a split second and as soon as you stop drinking it comes back harder and hotter. So, I stood, smirk still firmly in place, as he turned off the faucet, swiped a hand across his brow, unbent and started to say, "That's better...." At least I think he tried to say that. What came out was a very shaky, "Tha bet... aggghhhh..." I waggishly said, "You really shouldn't drink water, it only makes it worse." Fortunately for me the flames shooting through Mark's head impaired clarity of thought, so I was not promptly roundhoused. Instead, he threw open the backdoor and ran out into the yard (oh, son... you can run, but you can't hide).
At that point I let him be, walked back into the living room and flashed a falsely apologetic sweet smile at Scott. "I did warn him, did I not?" Scott merely shook his head sadly and said, "I never could tell that boy anything he didn't want to hear."
John once referred to his sauce as "the gift that keeps on giving." And so it does... think I'll invite some unsuspecting folks for dinner this weekend. It's Halloween and I'm feeling a bit wicked. Gotta pull a J.