I'm not convinced that chili peppers really have a whole lot to do with a botanical garden—I mean, who goes to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to look at the chili pepper plants? You might as well throw an Italian food festival because basil and oregano are grown in the BBG's herb garden. But I have to say that the BBG's Chili Pepper Fiesta is one of the pleasantest annual events on the New York calendar.
The garden officials stretch the world of the hot pepper to include not just chili and hot sauce, but also chutney, pickles, latin-flavored music, pepper-shaped candy, tattoos and jewelry—even pepper ice sculptures, for Christ's sake. It's all rather charmingly silly. Plus, I met the makers of Brooklyn Petro, a four-month-old hot sauce whipped up in nearby Park Slope. And I attended an illuminating seminar in pickling, which inspired me to go home and can five bottles of pickled green beans and one of pickled okra that evening.
Quote of the day came from the lead singer of the band Haznat Modine. "I live in Manhattan. I'm the last person who's not a millionaire living in Manhattan. It's civilized here in Brooklyn. Let's face it: Manhattan is DuaneBucks."