addo Explores Heat - A Five Part Series On Chili Head Culture

I grew up in a small blue-collar town in Central Washington, a place where the last movie theater showing gets out before midnight and the only food you can get past midnight is Taco Bell or McDonald’s. You can always count on a late-night line filled with stoners carefully pondering their order like it’s the most important decision they’ll make until their next late-night Taco Bell run. When the town completely shuts down well before me and my friends go to sleep, we’re left scratching our heads with ballcaps, trying to fill our hormone-fueled carcasses with activities that wouldn’t put us in jail. With the wonderful and random nature of the internet, it didn’t take us long to discover the joys of watching your friends fall apart after trying some of the hottest sauces known to mankind.

 Sauce so hot that tiny dollops the size of a quarter will make your mouth scream in pain and every mucous membrane in your head revolt in despair as you cry and drool through side-splitting laughter.

Laughter isn’t the first emotion people think of after you’ve just pepper-sprayed your mouth (unless you love MTV’s Jack Ass, then you get it) but there’s something special about playing with fiery food. Whether it’s rolling the dice on the fifth spice level at your favorite Thai spot or eating a raw ghost pepper and throwing up on YouTube, chili and spice culture seems to be more popular and accessible than ever before.

Why do people love spicy food? That’s the question that will answer while addo Explores Heat, a multi-blog series exploring what’s known as chili-head culture. It’s a multifaceted question whose answer is part history, culture, business, and human oddity. Chili-head culture might be one of the strangest sub-cultures on the internet, but strangely enough, it brings people together in a painfully unique way.

Parts two through four will touch on the following topics.

2. History and Big Business of Chili Culture

3. No Pain No Gain: The Science of Spice

4. Spicy Content: How Chili Head Content Went Viral

5. Best Chili Peppers and Hot Sauces In Washington  

Be sure to inquire about Chef Eric Rivera’s small-batch hot sauces he makes available at the addo:incubator in Ballard. There are only 12 to 24 bottles made in each lot and each bottle is fermented for 12 days minimum. Every batch comes in full of different rad flavors like melon, cantaloupe, and pineapple. Soon you’ll be able to purchase sauces right from, stay tuned for more updates.

 Written by Jonathan Olsen-Koziol