It’s been said that Bennie Booker, A New York Fireman in the early to mid 1900’s, had a heart of gold. Everybody walked by the Firehouse and conversed with Bennie as though he might have been a public official. He seemed to me to be a very popular man. With all that time he spared the people one would think he had something to sell. Well it turns out that it wasn’t Bennie’s heart that was gold, it was his wallet! Running the daily numbers racquet in a time when there was no State owned gambling, he became an important cornerstone of the neighborhood. Just as the milk man delivered the milk, Bennie delivered the number (I don’t believe that Bennie ever drank milk, if you catch my drift).
But Bennie was a family man also with a wife Maria and a son Phillip. Well Maria and Phillip just couldn’t take the New York smog, so Bennie with that big heart of his moved them off to the warmer, dryer atmosphere of Phoenix, Arizona. He would visit often, suffering through the cuisine which seemed to be divided into four basic food groups: Mexican, Mexican, Mexican, and oh yeah, did I say Mexican? Well Bennie struggled somewhat with this, but on the other hand Maria and Phil loved every spicy meal they could get, both having American Indian blood in them.
As time went on Bennie did developed a taste for the Arizona local fare, with a special interest in the salsas containing the Caribbean Habanero pepper and would go from bar to bar(bar hopping, so to speak) having chips, salsa made with that Habanero pepper, beers and of course Tequila. He was almost inclined to start talking up the numbers business there, but the thought that they still had lynch mobs made him think again. But he did love the Habanero pepper, so much so that would bring peppers back with him to the Firehouse. The guys there loved mixing up concoctions with this pepper learning quickly that a little Habanero pepper went a long way.
Maria and Phillip on the other hand had a taste for the plentiful varieties of peppers that Arizona had to offer. Phillip enjoyed it so much that his mother started calling him San Filippo and the name stuck right away. Well we’re sorry to say that our Uncle Bennie passed away in the late 1950’s. Finally, yea finally we thought it was only fitting to bring his favorite sauce to market. Enjoy!