The Washington Post published a disturbing story about the apparent spread of “hot saucing” — putting spicy sauce in a child’s mouth as punishment. One of the advocates of this practice is Lisa Whelchel, who played the character of Blair Warner on the 1980′s sitcom “Facts of Life” and now has a Christian-based book out on raising children.
The Post story says:
“Hot saucing,” or “hot tongue,” has roots in Southern culture, according to some advocates of the controversial disciplinary method, but it has spread throughout the country. Nobody keeps track of how many parents do it, but most experts contacted for this story, including pediatricians, psychologists, and child welfare professionals, were familiar with it.
The use of hot sauce has been advocated in a popular book, in a magazine for Christian women, and on Internet sites. Web-based discussions on parenting carry intense, often emotional exchanges on the topic.
But parents aren’t the only ones asking “to sauce or not to sauce?” Several state governments have gotten involved in the debate. In Michigan in 2002, a child care center was sanctioned for using hot sauce to discipline a child. The mother of the 18-month-old boy reportedly gave the child care workers permission to use the sauce to help dissuade her son from biting other children.
Virginia’s child protective services agency lists hot saucing among disciplinary tactics it calls “bizarre behaviors.” The list includes such methods as forcing a child to kneel on sharp gravel, and locking him in a closet.
The website of the magazine Christianity Today published this passage:
On the advocacy side is Lisa Whelchel, parenting columnist for Christianity Today sister publication Today’s Christian Woman, who quotes Proverbs 10:31: “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off.” The magazine itself has also gently supported the activity in an advice column by Susan Alexander Yates: “When our children were young and tried talking back, we simply washed out their mouths with yucky-tasting soap. One friend uses white vinegar, another a drop of Tabasco sauce.” (A very similar 2000 article by Yates only included the references to “yucky tasting soap” and white vinegar.) Another one of our sister publications, Christian Parenting Today, apparently hasn’t addressed the subject.
Christianity Today also reports:
For the record, Paul McIllhenny, president of the company that makes the Tabasco brand hot sauce, called the practice strange, scary, and abusive.
NPR’s “Morning Edition” included a story Monday that you could localize in just about any city in America.
It is the story of how, for more than five decades, Southeast Asian immigrants have bought up and run motels and hotels. Now, the story says, close to 40 percent of the hotels and motels in America are owned by Indians. This is one story in a fine series that NPR produced on immigrant businesses. I really liked the story because it explained how a dream turned into a hardscrabble business. Immigrants helped immigrants.
Al’s Morning Meeting reader Sue Davis, of the Ventura County Star, in Ventura, Calif., dropped me a note. She wrote:
Chowhound.com is an indispensable resource for people who love to eat out. It is a lively message board where one may ask “Where is the best (insert food craving) in (insert name of city or town)?” and get responses from knowledgeable locals and food-savvy travelers.
I always check it before traveling, so I can hit the restaurant hot spots. I recently went to Oaxaca, Mexico for three weeks and found a fabulous cooking school there by using the “International” part of the board.
It would be great for travel writers.
We are always looking for your great ideas. Send Al a few sentences and hot links.
Editor’s Note: Al’s Morning Meeting is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts, and other materials from a variety of websites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed, and a link will be provided, whenever possible.