America loves Sriracha. The screaming-red, medium-spicy Asian condiment -- made with chiles, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt -- is named for the Thai city of Si Racha, an mass-produced by Huy Fong Foods in clear plastic squeeze bottles with green caps and and signature rooster pictures , which inspired its nickname of "cock sauce" (or "rooster sauce" if there are little kids around). Cock sauce went from being a fairly obscure Asian condiment to a required accessory at almost any American meal, partly because of its engaging garlicky flavor and chile warmth, partly because of its still-small price tag. Sriracha is divine on eggs, pizza, meat and chicken, tofu and vegetables and in soups; a few squirts in a carton of sour cream makes a badass dip for potato chips. But despite Sriracha's adaptability, there are a few food and drink tems it definitely does not help.
Here are the top five edibles that should never have Sriracha added.
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5. Sodas Although I used to buy Jones Sodas whenever the company introduced yet another holiday pack of flavor abominations, there were some undeniably terrible tastes, even for the adventurous culinary connoisseur. Past offerings included sodas flavored like Brussels sprouts, ham, mashed potatoes (with butter), turkey (with gravy), green bean casserole, fruitcake, sweet potatoes, peas, dinner roll, broccoli and the one that finally made me swear off this swill altogether: smoked salmon pate soda. Given this track record, Jones will no doubt jump on the Sriracha band wagon and make a carbonated beverage with the popular sauce -- and I dread that day, because the food nerd in me will want to taste it, and the human being with digestive preservation instincts will not. The chile itself may not be that bad, but I have no desire to swig a bottle of vinegar.
Then again, while many people have taken a sip or two of a weird Jones soda, have you ever seen anyone actually finish off a bottle?
4. Mexican food Part of Sriracha's appeal is that is so flexible, lending itself not just to all kinds of Asian food, but also Greek, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, European, American, blah blah blah. But for some reason only the food gods know (Alton Brown might be the messiah, by the way), Sriracha just does not go well with a lot of Mexican foods, including but not limited to tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chiles relleno, tortas, barbacoa and carnitas -- and it clashes like crazy with mole. My theory on this is that many Mexican dishes have their own native chile peppers to season and give them heat, and Sriracha's Thai influence can actually be a distraction because it doesn't have the right balance of salty, hot, sweet and garlicky to improve the flavor of Mexican dishes.
Don't believe me? Try squirting a little cock sauce into your next bowl of posole.
3. Fresh berries
I always look forward to that first crop of ripe berries to add to salads. In anticipation of the early summer crop, earlier this year I fooled around in the kitchen and came up with a really good tangy, savory, spicy salad dressing with a liberal amount of cock sauce added to it, along with almond oil, a little rice wine vinegar, pink peppercorns and a touch of hibiscus for a floral note. The dressing was fantastic, right up to the point that I bit into a slice of fresh strawberry. The Sriracha-heavy dressing made the berry taste foul -- almost rotten -- and after a few more bites I picked the berries out, washed them and ate them separately.
Note to self and others: Just as you do a strand-test when you are about to dye your hair, make sure that the main salad ingredient does not clash with the dressing.
2. Suckers I had the misfortune to be at a dinner party where the hostess surprised us all with homemade after-dinner sweets in the form of Sriracha lollipops. It was obvious that she was quite proud of these creations and had spent some time making them, so I did what everyone did and unwrapped mine, took a couple of tentative licks and said, "MMMM! Yummy!" Five seconds later, I surreptitiously shoved the thing into my purse. The Sriracha-infused sucker tasted like a candy apple paired with garlic, and that's a marriage made in a Thai prison. Last Halloween I tried a homemade Sriracha peanut candy bar that was effin amazeballs, so I cannot say that all Sriracha candies should be forbidden -- but until somebody comes up with a lollipop filled with nuts to stabilize all the sugar, experimental Sriracha pops should be illegal, like Italian maggot cheese and haggis made with sheep's lungs.
By the time I got home, that sucker had made my purse smell like a dumpster outside of an Asian restaurant.
1. Edible sex lube J&D's Foods -- maker of Baconaise; bacon-flavored salt, popcorn, gravy, croutons and lip balm; and, most famously, Baconlube, the world's first bacon-flavored personal lubricant and massage oil -- has been jacking around with Sriracha as the next new cool flavor. The company has already produced a passably good Sriracha popcorn. And now it's clearly taking cock sauce to the next level, as evidenced by a recent Facebook post by "Bacontrepreneurs" Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow that has the photo above, along with these words: "And nailed it. #Sriracha Lube V.3 is the perfect balance of spicy and lube-y but I'm not sure we're going to launch it. Dave and I are split on the decision. What do you think? Is the world ready for #CockSauce?"
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SHOW ME HOW
Putting hot Thai chile sauce (with vinegar and garlic) on someone else's privates is something you do only when you want to get arrested, or at the very least want to get the other party to break up with you quickly and without much discussion past "OWWW!!! What the FUUUUCK??!!" Even so, if this "Srirachalube" is released, it will probably spread like wildfire in every possible way.