Wilbur Scoville, a pharmacologist, invented the Scoville scale in 1912 to measure the pungency of peppers and chillies, generally related to their capsaicin content. To establish a chilli pepper’s rating, Scoville would prepare it in a solution, which was then tested by five people. He increased its dilution until the sensation of heat disappeared. The score on the scale represents the level of dilution required for the sensation of heat to disappear completely.
In our collective imagination, brightly coloured, spicy or even fiery chilli peppers evoke faraway lands and their exotic flavours. They have been incorporated so well into so many culinary traditions that it is far from easy to guess their origin. Thailand? Mexico? Cameroon? Or perhaps India?
Presented in one single display cabinet that stretches along an entire section of wall in the Espace Lait area at the Alimentarium until August 2015, a multitude of feeding bottles collected by Professor Rossi (1915–1998) take you on a journey through history, from ancient times to modern day, to discover how newborns have been fed during the first few months of their lives.
Throughout history, nutrition has played a crucial role in our development. The study of human remains, like those of the glacier mummy Ötzi, shows how the ingredients of our ancestors’ diets changed over time and what role this played in the spread of humankind.
A tattered box from a second-hand bookstore in the Mitte district of Berlin contains a surprising find: photos of the 20th anniversary celebration of East Germany. The culinary highlights have a socialist flair and the atmosphere is downright homey.
In October 1971 the Shah of Persia flew in eighteen tons of food to celebrate his country’s 2,500th anniversary and his own glory. Emperors, kings, presidents and sheikhs from all over the world were regaled for three days amidst the ancient ruins of Persepolis.