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Mr. Chilehead: Adventures in the Taste of Pain [Paperback]

James D. Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 9 2003
This heated confession of one man who embraced the chile lifestyle details his obsessive quest for pepper pain. A look into the capsicum subculture and its strange denizens, this book discusses hot sauce phenomena—the endorphin rush that kicks in when the sauce is consumed, the mad desire to produce hotter and hotter sauces, and the trend toward raunchy and politically incorrect hot sauce labels. Explored are the reasons millions of people seek out the pain caused by hot sauce and why the pleasure following that pain has made the pursuit of hot sauce and chile culture so wildly popular. The incredible antics of both manufacturers and fans are examined, and the role of the Internet as a vital meeting place for the hot sauce community is highlighted. Appendixes include a Scoville Heat Scale, a list of the world’s hottest sauces and where to find them, mouth-searing recipes, and a user’s guide to the most exotic hot sauce products.

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Review

“This book will take you places (be afraid, by very afraid) you've never been before.” —Fiery-Foods & BBQ magazine


“A passionate, highly subjective journey. . . . An intriguing and charming look at the subculture.” —The Toronto Star


“[The] most passionate writing about a condiment.” —Esquire

About the Author

James D. Campbell is a hot sauce aficionado and a curator and the author of more than 50 books and catalogs, including Depth Markers, Mnemosyne or the Art of Memory: Gerhard Merz, and Ron Martin: Geometric Painting, 1981–1995. He lives in Montreal, Quebec.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Roberto
This is the funniest and best informed book about chiles and hot sauce that I have ever read. Most books give you recipes or histories of peppers, but Campbell's approach is truly different. He recounts his various quests for the hottest of hot sauces, and, in the course of his journey, he uses humor (frequently black humor) to provide information about all kinds of peppers, hot sauces, and the addictive lifestyle of those who have come to know the joys and sorrows of hot sauce. And, as a bonus, he includes some incredible recipes (yes, they are hot!) The book just looks great--it is small and beautiful, almost a little fetish object in its own right--and I love the way that Campbell obsesses over his addiction while maintaining his humanity. For anyhow who loves hot sauce and chile pepper pain, this is a unique read.
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As a devout Chilehead, I've been waiting for someone to put into words the fiery affliction that I, and many countless others live with. James Campbell uses wit, introspect and a great command of the language to paint a picture of "Painland"; our home. He includes numerous facts and resources, such as the web site Pyropepper.com of which I had never heard, to give a well rounded narrative of life as a Chilehead. Bravo! I recommend this book for chile lovers of course, but also for anyone with a good sense of humor and love of a great read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and funny account of chile pepper addiction June 8 2003
By Roberto - Published on Amazon.com
This is the funniest and best informed book about chiles and hot sauce that I have ever read. Most books give you recipes or histories of peppers, but Campbell's approach is truly different. He recounts his various quests for the hottest of hot sauces, and, in the course of his journey, he uses humor (frequently black humor) to provide information about all kinds of peppers, hot sauces, and the addictive lifestyle of those who have come to know the joys and sorrows of hot sauce. And, as a bonus, he includes some incredible recipes (yes, they are hot!) The book just looks great--it is small and beautiful, almost a little fetish object in its own right--and I love the way that Campbell obsesses over his addiction while maintaining his humanity. For anyhow who loves hot sauce and chile pepper pain, this is a unique read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful narrative of the Chilehead lifestyle! June 3 2003
By Susan J Lane - Published on Amazon.com
As a devout Chilehead, I've been waiting for someone to put into words the fiery affliction that I, and many countless others live with. James Campbell uses wit, introspect and a great command of the language to paint a picture of "Painland"; our home. He includes numerous facts and resources, such as the web site Pyropepper.com of which I had never heard, to give a well rounded narrative of life as a Chilehead. Bravo! I recommend this book for chile lovers of course, but also for anyone with a good sense of humor and love of a great read.
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