Teen Program: Hot Pepper Escalation

So, unfortunately, this is my last week with the library I currently work with – which is sad, because I’ve been here for almost three years and deeply enjoyed everything I’ve learned and all the people I’ve worked with. But! The good news is that I’m leaving for a great, full-time opportunity at another library, and until then, I’m running some pretty cool stuff for my teens right up until my very last hour here.

Which is what I wanted to talk to you about today, because our most recent summer program was a complete winner that I intend to duplicate the absolute first chance I get – I call it the Hot Pepper Escalation, and truly it is a test of endurance among all others.

For $5 and access to a fabulous grocery store, I scored six varieties of hot peppers (I used poblano, jalapeno, banana, serrano, Thai and habanero) which I arranged in order of hotness from least to most (it’s the order they’re listed above, for reference). I put their Scoville units on labels, gave a short spiel on Scovilles, capscaicin oil, and started egging my audience on.

How did the teens feel about this?

It was a glorious chorus of “This is no big deal, I can do this easy” morphing into “OH NO WHERE ARE THE CHIPS” (I provided tortilla chips to take the burn out). Anyone who made it from bottom to the top without a chip or water break won a pass to the local movie theater.

A+, would plan again. You could also do this with hot sauces or salsas, or turn your leftovers into salsas.