Special Sauce

Let’s talk about food!

Remember, back in the day, when this was a blog about pie? Simpler times, those. As much as our lives have changed since back in 2011, some things have remained more or less constant. In particular, we are still deadly serious about food.

Upon arrival at our transitional home in Columbus, Carlos discovered that we lived practically across the street from Penzey’s. The only other time I’ve been in a Penzey’s store is the one right outside Pike Place Market in Seattle, so I was surprised and delighted to find one in our somewhat unremarkable neighborhood. And even better? THEY HAVE BERI BERI!

In our Seattle neighborhood, we were surrounded by Ethiopian restaurants, so much so that the smell of onions and turmeric would perfume the whole world some mornings. Even as recently as April, despite having been gone from Seattle for more than two years, the proprietor of our favorite (Assimba, if you’re curious) greeted us with the most joyful “salaam” I have ever received. Needless to say, we accepted the loss of abundant, inexpensive Ethiopian food as part of the price we had to pay in pursuit of larger goals.

Despite the fact that it is fundamentally just delicious stew, we never quite got up the gumption to try making our favorite dishes at home. Never, that is, until we discovered that my favorite purveyor of fresh and delicious spices stocks the bright, pungent powder that makes the magic happen. And you guys? Nothing will ever be the same again.

So, yes, obviously we have made a TON of key wat, doro wat, doro wat with turkey thighs, key wat pie. And it has all been pretty fantastic, honestly. But recently, something even better has come out of our beri beri obsession. Something so simple and powerful that I still wonder why I didn’t think of it myself, except that I know. It’s just not my style, but it is, to our great surprise and delight, Carlos’s: home-made barbecue sauce.

Homemade, wat-inspired, spicy, tangy, sweet, eat it with a spoon until your throat burns PERFECT SAUCE. How perfect is this sauce? Look:


This sauce is so good that I’ll show you the only in-progress picture, which also happens to hint at how long it has been since I cleaned my stovetop.

I would share the recipe with you, but… It’s not mine, and it doesn’t live in my brain. I will say, though, that it has convinced me that it’s totally worthwhile to go a little deeper into culinary adventures. Even though there are plenty of great sauces out there, the effort that went into this is absolutely worth it for how far above and beyond even the best pre-made sauces this is.

The only thing about this wonderful development that still baffles us is this: what has happened that has turned Carlos into the kind of man who makes his own BBQ sauce? There is no event in our history that we can point to and say, “this is the moment that changed things.” Whatever it was, I am a fan!

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