Hot Sauce Nation: America’s Burning Obsession


Published by Chicago Review Press (May, 2016)

Hot Sauce Nation is a red hot ride through the story of hot sauce in America, beginning with the humble South American plant that travelled to the American Indians, who used its derivatives as both flavoring and a peculiar sort of preservative. Chili pepper-based sauces transformed cuisines worldwide and successive waves of immigrants landing in the New World have turned up the heat on the American palette with their native pungent sauces. Today, the super-fast growing hot sauce industry has made it into everything from salsa chips and dips to a have-to-have barbeque add-on. Told through history, current events, and real-world reportage the book explores the unique hold the dark prince of condiments has on the American heart.


Denver Nicks is a writer based in New York City. Originally from Oklahoma, he has developed a reputation for intrepid reporting in challenging contexts. Nicks has written about street art in Poland, a failed coup in the Philippines, post-coup Honduras, and the hidden working-class underbelly of Wall Street in the midst of the financial meltdown. A Fulbright Scholar, he holds a Master’s of Science from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His work has appeared in The Daily Beast, AlterNet, The Nation, This Land and other publications.