Hot Mama: Gen Thompson

Hot Mama: Gen Thompson

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A little history of Two Hot Mamas

In 2002, two “hot mamas,” Gen and Paula, came together while volunteering at their community church. Gen would cook something special for each volunteer’s birthday to thank them for donating their time. For Paula’s birthday, Gen made breakfast tacos with her homemade salsa verde, and Paula noted that she had her own recipe for a great red salsa. At that moment, the two moms realized that they shared a passion for a great salsa, and they started cooking up a plan.

Shoo away the kids, fire up the kitchen

Gen said, “We blocked the little ones away from the kitchen and perfected the home canning method for my Salsa Verde and Paula’s Salsa Roja. Then with some left-over Salsa Verde and Salsa Roja, we decided to blend them for the best of both worlds. And that became our famous, award-winning Mambo Combo Salsa.”

In the beginning, the two women often worked late into the evenings cooking and blending their fresh dips and salsas, and soon were selling the popular products to friends and neighbors, as well as at local school trunk shows and church bazaars. In 2004, they entered their first hot-sauce competition and soon became the most award-winning salsa company in the world’s largest hot-sauce competition.

Today: One Mama keeping it hot

A few words from Gen

These days, I develop all recipes and manage the business of making amazing salsas and dips. This type of Latin cooking truly is part of who I am and it reflects how I grew up. All recipes and flavors can be traced to the Latin aspect of my heritage. My maternal side of the family is from Spain, and the paternal side is from Baja, Mexico.

I grew up spending a lot of time with my grandparents, and as a child, I have fond memories of delivering the fresh peppers from the garden to my grandfather’s plate. We made a lot of pico de gallo, which is a very fresh approach to a salsa. The salsas and dips we are creating today are a blend of Latin ingredients and recipes and traditions from all over the world, spiced up with a fresh, modern twist. And of course, we have called Austin our home for many years, and we also have some flavors and recipes that are inspired by some of the fabulous local Austin tastes and traditions.

What salsa should be

If you look at salsas on the shelves of grocery stores today, I’m always shocked that about half of them don’t have cumin, an inherent flavor in Mexican and Southwest foods, and many don’t use such common Latin ingredients as cilantro or limes. Plus, they too often use vinegars to serve as a preservative, which we always have believed should never be done.

We’re very proud of the heritage and tradition of quality that goes into making every batch of our salsas and dips (and I make sure of that). Stay tuned, because we’ll have a lot more to come.

Gen Thompson, one of the founders of Two Hot Mamas