Until a few months ago, I had never heard of a Ghost Pepper. This week, I saw that fast food chain Wendy’s now offers more than one menu item containing Ghost (Bhut Jolokia) Pepper. I love spicy food, but I know many people that find the jalapeno peppers I love to be far to spicy for their tastes. So if I am at the right of the ‘spiciness loving distribution curve’, how is it possible that these new peppers will become popular?
I’m updating this post in honor of Wilbur Scoville’s birthday. I talk about the Scoville Scale many times when discussing subjective measurement systems. We are used to using time, length, width, and other physical measurements; but it is more difficult to measure things that are more subjective, like the spiciness of a pepper. Wilbur was a chemist, award-winning researcher, professor of pharmacology, and today is famous for his Scovill Scale. Happy 151st Wilbur!
This is a great article from the London Telegraph
Who was Wilbur Scoville? The science behind what makes chillies so hot
The inventor of the Scoville test has been commemorated with a Google Doodle on his 151st birthday
Hot chilli peppers have been credited with helping to lose weight, inducing labour and relieving pain. But until Wilbur Scoville, there was no objective way of measuring how hot chillies really are.
Scoville, an American chemist born 151 years ago on Friday, is responsible for the “Scoville organoleptic test”, a scale of “hotness” that has been the definitive rating of how spicy a chilli is for more than 100 years.
On his birthday, Google has saluted Scoville with an interactive Doodle that asks visitors to assist his experiments by cooling the chillies’ heat.
By clicking the mouse at the correct point on a sliding bar, you can fire ice cream at the offending chilli to neutralise it, with the game getting more difficult as they get hotter.