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A mild proposal

Wednesday, January 07, 2009
My latest idea to stems from an experience I just had. I was having my regular bi-weekly dinner with a good friend and we went to a Thai place we'd never been to. Once inside, I ordered my benchmark Thai plate of pad thai with chicken. When asked for the level of spice, I replied "medium". My friend ordered the same plate.

A generic plate of spicy thai food

So my proposal is this: we need something analogous to the Saffir-Simpson scale for spicy food.

It's well known that I'm not a huge fan of spicy. But when I take a bite of medium and my mouth is on fire and all I can say to my friend is "be careful", there's a miscommunication there. I'll take responsibility for it, but I'll also propose a solution: The Burton Spice Scale.

Burton Spice Scale 0
: A McDonalds Hamburger. Relatively flavorless, relatively harmless.
Burton Spice Scale 1: Fries from Red Robin with some of their seasoning on it.
Burton Spice Scale 2: General Tsao's Chicken from the Safeway Deli. Flavorful without being destructive.
Burton Spice Scale 3: Chicken wings, with whatever sauce is usually associated with them. Spicier than I like.
Burton Spice Scale 4: Whatever I just ate at this Thai place with their "medium" spice. Starting to be painful. See also: Texas BBQ.
Burton Spice Scale 5: Banned by provisions from the Geneva Conventions. Potential substitute for Napalm.

You may freely use this scale; I certainly plan to!

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