Steak Sauces Speak is a one-act play that takes place on a grocery-store shelf.

Wedged between a bottle of Acme Steak Sauce and a bottle of A1-Sauce is a new-comer to the store, Croix Valley Original Steak Sauce

Wisconsin WildernessCroix Valley is looking slightly uncomfortable as he acclimates to the store’s bright, fluorescent lights and crowding of the other sauces. He’s used to being the only sauce on the table in the relaxed, Wisconsin-northwoods restaurant of his creator’s family or on the kitchen tables of restaurant patrons who’d take him home.

Now he waits quietly on a metal shelf above a yellow tag announcing he’s the 2011 winner of the Scovie Award: Best Meat Sauce in the National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show.

Acme: Hey, A-1, who’s the new guy?

A-1: Ah, just some sauce from the woods. Thinks he’s big cuz he won the Scovie.

(Croix Valley remains silent; he hadn’t mentioned the Scovies, it’s the tag that boasts.)

A-1: So, Croix Valley, you think yer big stuff now, cuz you n yer brothers, Hot n Spicy and Garlic n Herb, won three Scovie awards, huh?

Acme (taunting): Hey, A-1, when’s the last time you won a Scovie?

(A-1 tries to glare but lacks eyes.)

A-1: Now Croix Valley, you think you can compete with the big steak sauces?

Croix Valley (hesitantly): I don’t belong here.

A-1: You got that right.

Croix Valley: No, I mean, I’m a sauce, but I’m a sauce for all kinds of food, not only steaks.

Acme: But yer label says ‘Steak’.

Croix Valley: Well, but that’s only because Damon Holter made me for his parents’ restaurant. When they started the TimbeRidge Roadhouse in Hertel, they served steaks and needed a sauce, so Damon made me. But people who really know me pour me on chicken, shrimp, and vegetables.

Acme: Vegetables? (He snickers to A-1) Who eats vegetables?

A-1: He means potatoes. (Croix Valley didn’t mean potatoes, but decides to not to argue the point.)

Acme: Hey, here comes a family.

A-1: Oh, that’s the mom, Cristie. Her son loves me.

Acme: But she don’t. I heard her say you just hide the flavor of good meat.

A-1: Quiet, she’s stopping. (A-1 straightens with anticipation.)

Cristie: Woah. Scovie Award, huh? (She pauses to read the tag. Her daughter, Lauren, rolls her eyes.)

Lauren: We’re not going to have meat are we? I want pizza for dinner.

Cristie: Hold on. I want to read this. (She picks up Croix Valley and studies the back label.)

Lauren: Come on, Mom…Mom, you said we could have pizza this week.

Cristie (smiling slyly): Sure, that’s right. (She adds Croix Valley to her cart.)

(Croix Valley relaxes. He knows he going home. Acme and A-1 remain quiet on the shelf, stunned.)

Click here for the pizza recipe Cristie makes with Croix Valley fill-in-the-blank sauces.