Chili Peppers Are the New It Veggie
I didn’t learn of this historical context until much later, but what I did know was that during the Cultural Revolution, when Mao declared war on bourgeois culture and banned excess, including flowers, my mom grew chili peppers on her balcony in Beijing as a way to add color to her town. Because chili peppers were regarded as functional, they were allowed. To me, this snapshot of peppers in China was deeply intertwined with tenacity and resistance.
Historically intertwined with fertility and luck, preventative of physical maladies and combative of depression, and a symbol of resistance, the chili pepper has left a fiery mark on our culture, and that is most certainly manifested in design. As we approach 2023, perhaps peppers will be the new It veggie—it certainly is mine. So whether you’re in need of luck, health, or a dose of serotonin, deck your space with chili peppers. These spicy additions will be sure to leave you thirsty for more.
Spice up your room, with these organic candles from Nonnas Grocer. From the second produce range of the brand’s Dinner Table Candle collection, these chili candles come in red, green, and a set of both. Organic and fragrance-free, Nonnas Grocer products prioritize craftsmanship and artistry, and they also maintain an accessible price point.
Christmas is right around the corner! It’s time to get in the holiday spirit, so deck your trees with some pops of red with the most perfect pepper ornament. This shiny glass-blown ornament was mouth-blown and hand-painted exclusively for Sur la Table by artists in Poland. It includes a loop for easy hanging and a shiny coating, so it is sure to be an eye-catching staple piece on your tree.
In New Mexico, chiles are commonly hung outside the home entrance to bring in health, harvest, and good luck. Incorporating a variety of peppers—including Espelette, Fresno, Anaheim, Hatch, serrano, cayenne, and Aleppo—this wreath from Flamingo Estate is perfect for pepper lovers looking to start the year on a good foot.
I absolutely need these chili pepper cabinet handles to open the doors to my spice collection. Available in every color, these handmade drawer pulls are one of the cutest and unexpected pepper decor I’ve encountered. They’re small and subtle but make a huge statement. They are sure to spice up your cabinets, desk, or dresser.
If you’re obsessed with chili peppers as much as I am, ditch the basic fairy lines for a string of realistic dried peppers dangling amidst LED lights. The twine string adds a rustic touch, and the glossy varnish finish makes them eye-catching and vibrant.
For a more cozy drink, warm up to a hot chili pot of tea. This little ceramic teapot is one of a kind, beautifully colored, and unforgettable.
And to hold the pot, I love these handmade chili pepper–printed pot holders. The poly-linen has a quilted heat-resistant backside that is machine-washable too.
Pair your spicy cocktails or chili pot with a meal served on this adorable set of ceramic serving trays. These handmade bowl-esque trays are perfect for holding dips or a sampler of appetizers—and would immediately spice up any dinner party spread. The set of four includes two red, one green, and one yellow.
To add to your spread of chili pepper tableware, this set of vintage 1950s shakers would be another functional statement piece. These oversized shakers have so much personality—the peppers’ fun expressions and crossed arms are sure to make anyone smile! I immediately added these to my cart. There’s no better way to add salt and pepper—or, if you’re like me, mild chili flakes (for guests) and ghost pepper flakes (for myself)—to your dinner table.
I’m practically ready for a chili pepper–themed dinner party at this point because I’m ready to go all out with some embroidered chili pepper napkins too. These stunning white linen napkins are sure to elevate your dining table with the beautifully hemstitched chili pepper motif in the middle. The best part about them is that these handmade napkins are machine-washable, and the mixed cotton-synthetic blend of fibers repels stains and requires minimal ironing.
Or if you’re looking for a funkier way to flex your love for chili peppers than the more rustic linen napkins, consider holding your napkins in the cutest chili pepper wood painted napkin rings. This set of six will add a pop of color all around the table, and are sure to be a crowd pleaser. These napkin holders date back to the ’90s, so they’re a one-of-a-kind find. I haven’t been able to find anything quite like them anywhere else!
This ’90s salsa server by Boston Warehouse is completely unique. Made from clay—with a glazed interior and unglazed exterior—the bowl comes with a spoon that is glazed until the end of the handle. Sold by Kisswink Vintage, a mother-daughter business, this piece also serves a good cause, as 10% of the proceeds go towards resources for survivors of sexual violence.
For dessert, serve some homemade chili pepper–shaped sugar cookies made with these cookie cutters. There’s a standard and a dishwasher-safe option—and the best part is that they’re both made of PLA plastic, meaning they’re durable and more sustainable than the average plastic cookie cutter. They come in a variety of sizes, so you can make a platter of chili pepper cookies big and small. I love that they have ridges for the outline of the stem and a highlight on the pepper.
For real chili pepper enthusiasts, educate yourself on the flavors and versatility of 100 members of the chili pepper family. Organized by heat level, this reference book showcases the range of flavor, color, shape, and spice amongst a vast array of chili peppers, including more pervasive kitchen staples—such as the jalapeño and the bell pepper—and rare peppers and superhots, such as the Carolina Reaper. Perfect for adventurous cooks, this book is the best way to learn how to grow these peppers and how to chef them up in the kitchen.
This set of five life-sized pepper basket fillers include three chili peppers and two bell peppers. They come in a variety of sizes and colors, and would add a fun pop to your room year-round! I want to line my book shelf or windowsill with these.
And finally, if you’re a city girl and have a numb thumb like I do, check out this fool-proof windowsill chili pepper grow kit. Organic and non-GMO, this planter promises year-round growth and harvesting, and it comes with a custom soil blend and fertilizer that does all the work for you. It comes in a mason jar, so it’s perfect for those who want to harvest some peppers in an apartment, and it indicates when you need to water next. The best part is, Back to the Roots will donate a kit to a classroom of your choice with each photo you post.