Take a few bushels of cayenne peppers, a fistful of garlic and a knack for mixing -- and you have the makings of an Ascension Parish success story.
"This one is just piddling around," says Hiram Davis as he stirs a steaming pot which is sending eye-watering aromas through his kitchen. "You never know when you might stumble across something."
Five years ago Hiram did stumble across something. He had a bumper crop of peppers and an idea that he could make a hot sauce as good as Tabasco. Some say he did. Not just anybody, mind you, but the folks who hand out the Scovie. That's the spicy food industry's version of the Oscar. Hiram won it with a recipe he whipped up in his kitchen.
"There's no rhyme or reason, just what you feel like doing." That's how he explains his research and development methods. "It's just like cooking anything. You have just got to make sure nobody's here, no kids or anything like that because nobody can stand it."
"Does it get to the point where you can't stand it sometimes?" I ask. "Yes, it's tough. But then you know that you've got a good one going on whenever you can't keep your eyes open." You won't find a simpler formula for success.
"Lean over here and get a whiff," Hiram suggests. Not too sure, I suggest, "It looks like something that would clean your sinuses." "Man, it will!" says Hiram. I take a whiff. "Holy cow!" Harry Truman said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." Seven spicy sauces later, Hiram is still in the kitchen. Praise the Lord and pass the Tums!