We all have our tolerance levels toward the different degrees heat given off by some foods we eat. Spiceiness can range from mild to sweat popping, eye bulging , breakfast regurgitating tear inducing scorching sensations. Conventional research and data has led us to judge spiciness using the Scoville scale. The Scoville scale is the standard measurement of spicy chemicals in food that uses a numerical index in identifying the heat levels of various peppers. The scale has a bit to do with what we ultimately “perceive” as spicy – or not.
The real mechanism that makes food feel hot in the first place may start with the tongue and winds up – well, all in our heads. Yes, our minds play a part into why that crushed red pepper sprinkled atop our pizzas and tickles our tongues, differs so much from that wasabi hot, on our sushi that irrigates our noses? What does it all mean? I’ll let a TedTalk explain.