Kingdom of Salsa

I think I’ve got salsa running through my veins. My two oldest brothers — twins, twenty years my elders — both married Mexican women. At my childhood home, our brick worker — Cisco — was practically a part of the family. I have formative memories of large, festive gatherings with mariachi and piñatas, huge bowls of crispy tortilla chips and dishes of smoky, addictive and dangerously hot salsa.

(l to r) Chipotle caramelized onion salsa, tomatillo arbol salsa, pan-roasted tomato garlic salsa

I would bravely dip a chip into the salsa — just a corner at first. Then half the chip, and eventually I would actually scoop. I would thrill at both the uncomfortable blazing tingle in my mouth, and at my increasing ability to handle it. And the abuelas would marvel at the Scoville heat tolerance of the little gringo. More