The checkout lady asked if I found everything. "And then some!" I said. "Please thank whoever ordered Texas Pete. This is the first time I've seen it west of the Mississippi!" She looked at me like I was from Jupiter.

Not to be provincial, but only those who grew up with Texas Pete - made in Winston-Salem, N.C. - can understand the enthusiasm for this hot sauce. It's not artisanal, it's a mass-manufactured condiment, for sure. But it's thicker than Tabasco without being as sweet as some of these other Gulf-coast style hot sauces, and it's indispensable to homemade barbecue sauce - that would be sauce for real barbecue, i.e. that which comes from North Carolina.

This is a bona fide new item at the Safeway here in Eugene. I encourage everyone on the West Coast to look for it and try it out. Meantime, here's some other subjects to discuss going into your Memorial Day weekend.