Behold My Latest Addiction

Posted: June 19, 2011 in The Roper Files
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It’s funny how addictions start in seemingly innocuous ways. My current one started last month when “K” called me all excited about something she had discovered on the shelf at her local grocery store thousands of miles away. She had purchased several jars of some fruity-sounding salsas made with what were in my mind some very nontraditional ingredients: pomegranate, peach and pineapple for example.  And if you insist on it being really hot they make a Ghost Pepper salsa from the Indian Bhut Jolokia pepper:

Now you have to understand that as a Texan I immediately think of salsas as being tongue-scorching HOT as opposed to oh…I don’t know…just a salsa that TASTES good. Red-hot salsas served with chips have long been a traditional appetizer at most Mexican restaurants here in Texas and it’s always been sort of a redneck machismo to see how much searing-hot salsa one could “take” before a meal.

Most Mexican restaurants (or if you want REAL Mexican food, the taquerias)  here have a mild (usually green) and a hot (always red) variety to choose from but my point being is “hot” and “not as hot” are usually the limit of terms most Texans use when thinking about salsas.

And I like hot stuff mind you. I love making chili with a combination of Wick Fowlers, my own choice of vegetables and peppers from my brother’s garden. And my chili has a sneaky “creeper” effect especially when I’m mixing up the varieties of peppers (jalapenos, banana peppers and Thai peppers) It tastes good, doesn’t “bite” so to speak. I keep eating for a few minutes and then it sneaks up on me gradually (“Man this is HOT”) Got some in my freezer right now that will bring tears to your eyes if you’re not used to it.

Then “K” read  the label of the new salsa she found to me and told me the salsa (Mrs. Renfros) was made right here in my home-town, Fort Worth. “Mrs. Renfros”….”now WHY does that sound familiar” I thought to myself. Their website only had a PO Box to write to so I turned to the phone book and found an address and phone number. Then driving to my job early one morning it hit me as I was rounding the way-up-in-the-air southbound ramp going from I-30 to I-35…..

Okay, okay I admit the photo sucks; it was five in the morning and I was shooting through a window while driving uh…50 mph….(speaking of morons who text while driving….) but the red blur is the red neon sign for Mrs. Renfros. Turns out I drive by their factory four or five times a week. When “K” opened hers and ate it she purred like a cat as she told  me how delicious it was and that I needed to look for this ( another addiction “red-flag” right there; get your friends hooked too)

I don’t bring home a lot of chips and hot sauce because most of the time I will eat them instead of any actual dinner. Worse yet I will put aluminum foil on two cookie sheets, start lining up chips and slicing cheese and peppers while I heat up the oven and then consume nachos assembly-line style until I’m full instead of eating a proper dinner. So for these reasons chips and salsa usually don’t make it to my shopping list; if I want chips and hot salsa bad enough, I could just go eat dinner or lunch at a Mexican restaurant. But Memorial Day was rolling around and I had three and a half days off. What the hell; I went driving around town looking for it.

According to Mrs Renfros website they make nearly 30 varieties of salsa including one made with ghost peppers if you like it REALLY hot. Since it was manufactured locally,  I wrongly assumed it would be easy to find; their site says they ship their products not only to Canada but the UK as well. First place I went to (Tom Thumb; owned by Safeway) only had the Black Bean and a Habanero varieties but not the three I was looking for. Second place (Kroger) had the Peach (Yay!) but I had to drive to yuppie Central Market to find all three of the ones I was looking  for at $3.69 a jar. The last place I looked in accordance with Murphy’s Law ( Albertsons) also had all three varieties for (drumroll please) forty cents a jar cheaper ($3.29) Why I no go there first?

Purchased a large bag of tortilla chips and started my little taste test. The Peach flavor was Oh-My-God good; I couldn’t stop dipping chips into it until I hit the bottom of the jar. The jar was history in mere minutes; likewise I made short order of the pomegranate and the pineapple varieties upon opening those. I love this stuff; I could pour it over eggs, hell I could pour it over my Cheerios.

Guess there’s no turning back for me; I’m hopelessly hooked on this stuff, can’t …stop…eating…next thing you know I’ll be pouring this over my burgers. Is there a 12-step group that can break the strangle-hold Mrs Renfros has on me? It’s all going to be a continuous one-way non-stop bunny-hop straight to Hell from here, I can just feel it in my bones. Damn you Mrs Renfros, why did you have to make this stuff so GOOD?

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