May 27, 2005

Photoshop Widows Club – The Extremist

Years ago, Thomas took a liking to hot sauce. As we all know from my previous Widows Club stories, Thomas is obsessive, to the point of being an extremist. So, I’d have to say that Thomas took an extreme liking to hot sauce. At first he would have a bottle of TABASCO® Red Pepper Sauce on the kitchen table or ask for it at a restaurant. Then he discovered TABASCO Green Pepper Sauce. It went on everything. The new flavor was great but it just did not have the zip that TABASCO Red did.

Soon the heat and tingle of the sauce just started to fade – he was up to about a half a small (2 oz.) bottle a week at this point.

Thomas was looking for something with a real kick. He searched until he found Dave’s Insanity Sauce. Now that had a kick, but no flavor.

Friends, Anjali and Jay, originally from Gujarat, India, know what spicy food is all about. Gujarat is home to some of the hottest food on the face of the earth. Anjali and Jay both know how to use spice and how to cook with it. Never turn down an invitation to dinner at their house. Jay about turned inside out from Tom’s application of Dave’s Insanity Sauce to a taste of his dinner. Tom just wanted Jay to get the idea that it had no flavor. Thomas gave up on Dave’s.

Thomas continued his search for the best hot sauce. After experimenting with different hot sauces, he very quickly settled on TABASCO Habanero Pepper Sauce, the hottest sauce with the best heat/flavor ratio.

The new Habanero fetish quickly became a full blown addiction. Large (5 oz.) sized bottles started to disappear in a week.


TABASCO FACTOID: TABASCO pepper sauce is made from a variety of pepper called Capsicum frutescens, known for centuries in Latin America and first recorded in 1493 by Dr. Chauca, the physician on Columbus’ voyage.

Capsicum peppers contain an alkaloid called capsaicin, a spicy compound found in no other plant.


After many months of being satisfied with keeping the sauce on the table, Thomas finally gave in and started carrying it with him wherever he went. A bottle was in his pocket upon leaving the house. TABASCO went on everything no matter where he was eating.

Now that Thomas always had a bottle of TABASCO with him, bottles started appearing in the car door pocket. Never leave home without it. Bottles are even in the arm rest storage pocket of our airplane. Sometimes the bottles leek a bit and drip. This provides a bit of perfume for the car or plane.

At Panera’s in Ann Arbor, the manager took a picture of Thomas’ bottle on the table to send to Panera’s Corporate headquarters as proof that people really do want hot sauce available for soup and sandwiches.


TABASCO FACTOID: TABASCO has been produced by the McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana, since 1868, holding the second-oldest U.S. food patent. Several new types of sauces are now produced under the name TABASCO Sauce, including green pepper, chipotle, Habanero, and garlic sauces.


With a growing addiction, Thomas found it hard to keep sauce in constant supply. Sometimes confusing it for V8, an entire bottle might disappear in a day. Super markets would be decimated of their supply when Thomas went shopping. Cash register clerks would ring up bottle after bottle in disbelief. Then when he would return a few weeks later for more, whispering started.

To stop the endless search for 5 oz bottles of TABASCO Habanero, Thomas ordered it by the case directly from In fact he ordered so much that TABASCO sent him a baseball cap with a letter thanking him for being such a wonderful customer.

I was informed, with great disappointment, that Habanero did not come in gallons as did TABASCO Red.

Reliable sources have confirmed that while Rose the dog is allowed to lick plates clean after a Knoll dinner, Rose has begun to sniff the plates very carefully and tends to leave Thomas’ plate relatively un-licked. However, her tolerance of hot sauce seems to be growing.

Throughout his addiction I’ve learned to sit up wind of him at meals when there is a breeze. The aroma of it permeates the area. I’m thinking of banning it from the breakfast table as other wives have banned smoking in the house.


TABASCO FACTOID: What are Scoville Units? In 1912, Wilbur L. Scoville, a pharmacist, devised the first modern technique for measuring a pepper’s bite. Peppers measured using this technique range from 0 Scoville units, for the bell pepper, to 350,000 units, for the Mexican habanero. The original TABASCO variety measures 2,500 to 5,000 units on the Scoville scale while the Habanero Pepper Sauce is 7,000-8,000units.


So where was this addiction to go? What was there to look forward to?

With clammy palms and trembling fingers, Thomas searched the web. Finally at long last, TABASCO came out with Habanero by the gallon.

The hot sauce junkie was in heaven. Enough to last for a while. Enough to smother dinner in. Enough to keep the DTs at bay.

My shopping duties took me to Gordon’s Whole Sale and Restaurant Supply Store where I found traditional red plastic squeeze bottles used for catsup and a pump for gallon sized containers of catsup, mustard and mayo.

Without a second thought I purchased these items and returned home triumphantly with the perfect gift for the habanero addict.


I’ve had no comment on them except to find them in use – pump in the gallon of TABASCO habanero and the full red squeeze bottle on the counter next to the salt. And Thomas with a content look on his face.


TABASCO FACTOID: When all four production lines at the Avery Island factory are in operation, over 600,000 2-ounce bottles of TABASCO Sauce can be made in a single day. Each 2-ounce bottle of TABASCO Sauce contains at least 720 drops. (There are 60 drops per teaspoon; 3 teaspoons per tablespoon; 2 tablespoons per fluid ounce and 2 fluid ounces per bottle).


The benefit of this addiction is that I’ve found I can cook almost anything and Tom likes it! No complaints about anything except cucumbers and coleslaw.



You are all welcome to come and see this particular addiction for yourselves.

Great Lakes Digital: Photoshop Soup2Nuts 2.0 has many meal opportunities for observation of this addiction. I know Tom’s place at the table will be well marked with the bottle of TABASCO next to the beverage glass.

My seat will not be so marked. I plan on banning hot sauce from the table. Anyone who desires to join me in the hot sauce free zone can find me on June 24 and 25 at Great Lakes Digital for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Friday and then again for breakfast and lunch on Saturday.

I hope to see many of you at GLD in the hot sauce free zone and at the wonderful sessions that are planned for the first conference on Photoshop CS2.

Oh, and by the way, as far as addictions go, this one is easy to deal with. I just worry if the EPA would classify a broken gallon of Habanero as a toxic spill.

Upon reading this to Thomas, he is smiling like a kid in a candy shop and giggling like a cat that just ate the canary.

You are all welcome to verify the truth of this story with your own observations.

Ruth Knoll
President, Photoshop Widows Club.



What Thomas is ACTUALLY smiling about is the thought that he may get the Ultimate TABASCO gift for Father’s Day. Available at the TABASCO Country Store.


TABASCO FACTOID: TABASCO brand pepper sauce is made with three simple ingredients: fully-aged red pepper, high grain all-natural vinegar, and a small amount of salt mined right on Avery Island. It’s pure pepper sauce—no additives whatsoever.

The TABASCO brand Pepper Sauce Nutrition Facts;
Serving size: 1tsp (5ml)
Servings: about 30 (per 5 oz. bottle)
Amount per Serving:
Calories 0
Total Fat 0g (0% DV)
Sodium 30mg* (1% DV)
Total Carb. 0g (0% DV)
Protein 0g
Vitamin A (4% DV)
* 2.18mg or less sodium per 1/16 of a teaspoon, an average shake-on serving.
Not a significant source of calories from fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, sugar, vitamin C, calcium and iron. Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

TABASCO®, the TABASCO® diamond logo, and the TABASCO® bottle design
are registered trademarks exclusively of McIlhenny Co., Avery Island, LA 70513.

11 Responses to “Photoshop Widows Club – The Extremist”

  1. william mitchell Says:

    The LA Farmers Market has a store that sells only Hot Sauces. The next time you are in Los Angeles head over to the farmers market (fairfax blvd and 3rd street) The “Grove” is next door (apple store) Samy’s camera just down the street.

  2. Sol Avelino Says:

    I have half a bottle of regular Tabasco in my refrigirator. I don’t use it anymore. Instead, I buy fresh green Jalopeno peppers at the grocery store. I chop them up and eat them with every meal, except when I’m having cereal for breakfast. Jalopenos are not hot enough for me but I like the flavor. I wish I knew hotter peppers. I don’t like Habaneros because I can’t taste any flavor in them.

  3. Bill Caulfeild-Browne Says:

    Beware – Habaneroitis is contagious! I have made several photographic expeditions with Thomas (we shared a tent in Iceland and it still has a certain aura about it, tho’ it will never get mildew.) and have subsequently upgraded from my regular Tabasco to the Habanero. Now I too buy several bottles when I see it.

    Is there an end to this addiction….?

  4. ed nixon Says:

    I’m sure I’ll be accused of being a killjoy, humourless geetk but: I’ve been prepared to accept the thinly disguised advertising/marketing on behalf of Adobe for the thin trickle of reasonably objective information. I’m not prepared to have to wade through advertising for other products whether intended as humour, light week-end reading or whatever. This is corporate blogging at its ultimate worst. I’m out of here.


  5. Andy Biggs Says:

    Looks like we need to introduce Thomas to some east African pili pili chili sauces next month in Tanzania!


  6. Ruth Knoll Says:

    Hi Ed Nixon,

    You’ve totally missed the real advertising – Great Lakes Digital. That is the real “corporate” advertising. The rest is, besides fun weekend reading, poking honest fun at my husband.

    I’m trying to drum up business for the fund raising efforts for Washtenaw Community College and for Summers-Knoll School.

    The presenters have donated their time and talent to make it happen. Jeff Schewe is helping with the advertising with

    If you are going to criticize at least criticize the right party – it is NOT on behalf of Adobe.

    On the other hand, I’ve failed totally in my advertising attempts if you missed Great Lakes Digital.

    The only part Adobe has with this is it happens to be the lever to make the fund raising effort possible.

    And, yes, Adobe is participating in this effort to make it a success.

    So, please re-write your criticism and get your facts straight.


    Ruth Knoll
    Co-Chair Great Lakes Digital

    PS – yes, I’m hoping that Tobasco will come up with some money for the cause.

  7. Tim Spragens Says:

    I have no affiliation, but:

  8. Stephen Scharf Says:

    Well, I for one am really enjoying these updates to the Photoshop Widows Club. It’s nice to read about the “family” that is behind Photoshop, and the extended family that it has engendered. From what I read, if there was a plug for anything, it was Rose! More installments with Rose are most welcome. All the info about Tabasco was really interesting, too!

  9. Tim Adams Says:

    Curiosity piqued, I picked up a bottle of Habanero during my last trip to the local market. I eat lots of hot sauce.

    Yes, very good, better than many other types I’ve tried, but the burning, the burning. It didn’t kick in right away, which encouraged me to sprinkle more of the tasty Habanero on my veggies, but then gathered steam and lasted for about twenty minutes.

    For everyday use, I still hanker for 59 cents a bottle Kroger Hot Sauce.

  10. Steve Rosenblum Says:

    Hey Ruth! Has your husband discovered Tio’s restaurant on Huron Street in our shared hometown of Ann Arbor? They have literally hundreds of different kinds of hot sauce for sale and have tastings where an award is given to the masochist who can taste the largest number at one sitting. I would think Thomas could be the next winner!

  11. Borbély Szilárd Says:

    hi! i am a huge hot food fan! the only problem is that one from eastern europe cannot purchase hot sauces in such a diversity in which probably you do in the states. despite that, i had some tabasco in my life (the commonly known one), but frankly that’s nothing more than fruitjuice to me. as you said, it doesn’t have “the kick”. but this tabasco habanero “review” made me curious! not to mention the huge gallon!!! love it!!!

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