FACT FOOD #211

Edmund McIlhenny, a New Orleans banker, was given a gift by a soldier returning to New Orleans from Mexico of some dried peppers that were acquired in Mexico during the United States-Mexican War. The soldier told him to try them in his food. He used one or two and liked it, so he saved the seeds from the remaining peppers and planted them. Later there was the civil war and he had to flee his house. When he returned he saw his entire crops destroyed except his pepper farms. And later he made sauce out of it. When received an order for the sauce, he had to think of a name. Instead of thinking of his island’s name which was Avery, he chose the name, ‘Tabasco’ which some historians say it’s a Central American Indian word that means “land where the soil is hot and humid.” This certainly describes the climate of Avery Island. Other historians have put forth that it actually means “place of coral or oyster shell.”