My love affair with chili paste with garlic continues, going on thirty years now, with no loss of affection.
It was my first -- first authentic Chinese condiment in the pantry, that is -- and it's still my favorite, the one that makes my heart sing (and, occasionally, burn), the one I can't live without.
My husband Ted, who is not the least bit jealous of this relationship, will tell you that I get twitchy when I pull the last jar off the pantry shelf. I'm happier with a little stash of three or four jars of my favorite Lan Chi brand with their bright-green-and-white labels in Chinese and English.
Nothing, not even chocolate or lemon or Fresca, excites my taste buds in quite the same way.