February 12, 2017
As one should, I ordered waffles for the Galentine’s Day kid’s-menu waffles, make-your-own bloody mary, and copious amounts of maple syrup. But, instead of focusing on the waffles, I wanted to go a different route.
The bloody mary bar included an semi-international assortment of hot sauces, including Cholula, Tapatio, Tabasco, and Valentina. Since most of the bottles used imagery from Mexican culture, I was interested in seeing where the hot sauces were actually produced and/or where they sourced their ingredients from.
Cholula and Valentina are manufactured in Chapala, Jalisco and Guadalajara, Mexico; while Tapatio and Tabasco are produced in California and Louisiana. I found very little about the pepper sources, except for Tabasco.
All of their peppers used to be grown on Avery Island, Louisiana. The company then switched to foreign growers in Central and South America. These locations were chosen for their abundant farm land and predictable weather. The reasoning behind the move reminded me of the article by Lester Brown, The New Geopolitics of Food. I would be interested in learning more about how Tabasco acquired or benefited from farm land in Central and South America, and if there were the same ethical issues that the author spoke about in Africa and the Philippines.
Overall I think hot sauces are a good example of the globalization of food and food products. Whether they are produced and marketed in various countries or if their ingredients come from a multitude of places, they represent a combining of cultures, food practices, and tastes.