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  • - You see this bottle of hot sauce?

  • I have vivid memories of this bottle.

  • It's a bottle of Mango Creek,

  • a sauce from Charleston, South Carolina

  • that hasn't been produced in about 25 years.

  • It's also my dad's hot sauce,

  • the same dad who, about 25 years ago

  • in Charleston, South Carolina,

  • welcomed me into the world.

  • Growing up, I would ask my dad about it

  • and he'd talk about it in poetic terms

  • like sultry and fruity.

  • I also never fully knew why he stopped making it.

  • Obviously, having a second kid was a factor,

  • but he sometimes would mention something

  • about a con man who'd stolen all of his money.

  • Most importantly, though, I could tell that he missed it.

  • My dad has always been there for me

  • and has always done his best to support me,

  • and I wanted to do something to repay that,

  • so when I was a teenager I got this idea in my head.

  • I found his old recipe

  • and I decided I wanted to surprise him

  • by making his old hot sauce for him.

  • But, as with most of the whims of a teenage Dakota,

  • it never came to fruition.

  • Until now.

  • (lively music)

  • Today my Cameraman and I are finally going

  • up to my parents' home in Vermont

  • with a couple of negative COVID tests in hand,

  • and I figured it was finally time

  • to make my dad his long-lost hot sauce.

  • So the difficult thing about this recipe

  • isn't actually the making of the sauce,

  • it's the ingredients.

  • The main ingredient is a Scotch bonnet pepper,

  • which is a Caribbean pepper

  • that's really, really hard to find.

  • It's a bit like a habanero but a little bit juicier,

  • and it gives the sauce that nice,

  • sweet flavor that we're looking for,

  • and I have been trying to find it all day.

  • There's not Scotch bonnets.

  • Green peppers.

  • This place has a lotta peppers, but it doesn't...

  • It looks like Cubanelle,

  • Cornito, poblanos...

  • Yeah, they only had habaneros,

  • which are similar to Scotch bonnets

  • but not quite as sweet.

  • I called 25 different grocery stores

  • and none of them had it, but I finally found

  • a West Indian grocery store in the Bronx that has it

  • that's kind of on the way to Vermont, it's north.

  • Got our peppers. Ready to make some hot sauce.

  • I knew my dad had put his heart and soul

  • into making this hot sauce,

  • so if I was gonna do it right

  • I would need a bit of that heart and soul.

  • I needed to find out exactly what happened.

  • Why did he start making it,

  • and more importantly, why did he stop?

  • - Hello! My name is Jones Deady.

  • I'm Dakota Deady's father.

  • Back in the '90s,

  • my wife decided on doing her medical residency

  • in Charleston, South Carolina,

  • and I gave up my gardening business here in Vermont

  • and we moved to Charleston.

  • Scratching my head, trying to figure out

  • what to do with my life at that point,

  • I decided to start growing peppers.

  • I set up a booth at the farmer's market.

  • I found great satisfaction in that,

  • but then decided there must be more, so I said okay,

  • I would like to create a line of sauces.

  • So the mango sauce, I wanted to make

  • fruity and full of life,

  • and I think I have succeeded in that,

  • and it was a big hit.

  • And at that point in time,

  • not many people were using fruits such as mangoes.

  • I had 'em in a lot of the higher-end stores

  • in Charleston and abouts,

  • and I got a letter in the mail from an individual

  • that had found my product in a store, tried it,

  • and he also owned a food distribution company.

  • He was very, very charismatic, and

  • we agreed to terms,

  • and he began distributing my pepper sauce.

  • Soon, I sent him invoices

  • to find that I wasn't receiving payment,

  • and this went on and on for a little bit,

  • and I said something's not right,

  • so I called the other food producers that he had chosen.

  • All of them were having the same issue.

  • I flew back to Charleston without telling him,

  • and I went into a store and his wife was there.

  • My product was on the shelf.

  • I took my product all off the shelf,

  • realizing that they were just making money

  • and not providing their end of the contract.

  • So I walked away from everything.

  • - I had to keep my dad off the scent of what I was doing,

  • so I told him that I was gonna be

  • filming something all day in the kitchen

  • and that he couldn't come in

  • or he would mess it up completely.

  • Then I got to work.

  • At first, all I had to go on

  • was a handwritten ingredient list that I'd found years ago.

  • So I am here in the kitchen,

  • and I am going to start making this sauce.

  • I have a 25-year-old piece of paper

  • with my dad's nearly-illegible handwriting on it.

  • It's not like a full, step-by-step recipe.

  • It's sort of just a collection of ingredients.

  • I've started by chopping some onions really finely.

  • Chopping some carrots.

  • So I'm putting some water on to boil back there.

  • I've never pureed anything.

  • I'm the least qualified person to do this,

  • but I am determined to.

  • Let's put some mangoes into this little Cuisinart guy here.

  • Mango is actually the first food I ever ate.

  • Whoop! (sputters)

  • Look at that! Half a cup exactly.

  • (processor whirs)

  • Aw yeah, those are some liquified carrots.

  • So the special ingredient to this hot sauce

  • is this blend of spices here that...

  • I'm not gonna tell you what's in it, but

  • I'll just tell you it smells wonderful.

  • It's time for the peppers.

  • Got my rubber gloves on to make sure

  • I don't get too much hotness all over me,

  • more than I already have.

  • (wheezes) Ha!

  • I did not expect these to be this spicy.

  • These are so hot.

  • Mm.

  • Whoo! That's some spicy air.

  • Hot pepper puree.

  • Ooh!

  • Hoo-hoo!

  • Finally, it's time to transfer this sauce here to a pan.

  • Ah!

  • Really letting these flavors get to know each other in here.

  • (Dakota slurps)

  • Oh, something is very wrong with this.

  • I'm gonna have to start over.

  • When that recipe failed,

  • I realized that I had to dig deeper,

  • so I went back into his paperwork and kept searching.

  • While I was there, I found a lot of very interesting stuff.

  • I found the business card of the man who'd conned him.

  • I found the catalog he'd told me about.

  • I found all sorts of things that corroborated this story.

  • And the fact that he was holding onto these things

  • decades later showed me that this really did hurt him.

  • Most importantly though, I found a real recipe.

  • A recipe for a large batch,

  • which includes six five-gallon buckets of peppers.

  • It might be a little much, but what I can do

  • is I can take this and I can convert it down

  • to something a bit more manageable.

  • So I've got everything converted now.

  • Things are definitely a bit different.

  • Yesterday I was using as much vinegar and lime juice

  • as pretty much every other ingredient,

  • which definitely made it a bit more acidic than I wanted.

  • So today, when I've converted everything down,

  • it does cut a significant amount of that acidity out.

  • The other thing about this recipe is that it says

  • to use canned peaches.