My friend Randi (after using a few too many Fresno peppers in a dish) suggested I do some kind of chart about the relative spiciness of peppers. I’m sure most of us have seen a Scoville rating chart before, but they’re usually just a list of numbers. I’d never seen anyone try to do a graphical representation. And it’s hard to visualize, really, the difference between 5,000 and 1,500,000. I actually had nine peppers lined up for this chart first (I had included a banana pepper and a poblano pepper), and I drew the relative boxes as large as Adobe Illustrator would let me. When I shrank them down to a usable size, the banana pepper and poblano pepper boxes disappeared entirely. I think a proper visual Scoville chart might be a bit too complicated for our purposes, and might be best left up to someone like Randall Munroe.

So the biggest box, the yellow one, that represents the Moruga Scorpion, which is (as of February of this year) officially the hottest known pepper, and which I’m fairly certain humans aren’t supposed to be eating. The teency little speck next to the jalapeño, that’s how hot jalapeños are, compared to the Scorpion.

I like spicy things, for the record. I’m a big fan of everything up to habañeros, I think. I have tried a sauce made from ghost peppers, and it burned, and burned, and burned. They’re just a little too hot for me!