CLOSE
Original image

Last chance to enter our Pepsi/Coke contest

Original image

As a new blog, we like to remind ourselves that things almost always start small. Exhibit A: In 1886, sales of Coca-Cola averaged only 9 drinks per day. There are loads more Coke facts where that came from, but before you check those out, why don't you enter our guess-the-recipe-for-Coke-and- Pepsi contest? It, too, has started small, so you've got a good shot at winning, although entries are trickling in now via e-mail. The deadline is tonight at 9 EDT, and the prize is a copy of What's the Difference -- appropriate, since there's an entire chapter-let devoted to the difference between Coke and Pepsi. An excerpt that ought to tell you how this Indian court stuff will play out:

Coca-Cola [unlike Pepsi] maintains a secret ingredient: the mysterious "7X." ... The secret of 7X is so well kept that Coke was for a time forced to abandon the market in India after a law there required that all trade-secret information be disclosed to the government. The law was changed in 1991.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
Original image
iStock

While you’re browsing the ice cream aisle, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s so French about French vanilla?” The name may sound a little fancier than just plain ol’ “vanilla,” but it has nothing to do with the origin of the vanilla itself. (Vanilla is a tropical plant that grows near the equator.)

The difference comes down to eggs, as The Kitchn explains. You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered in 2010—when Baskin-Robbins decided to eliminate French Vanilla from its ice cream lineup—ice cream industry consultant Bruce Tharp noted that French vanilla ice cream may date back to at least colonial times, when Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both used ice cream recipes that included egg yolks.

Jefferson likely acquired his taste for ice cream during the time he spent in France, and served it to his White House guests several times. His family’s ice cream recipe—which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream—seems to have originated with his French butler.

But everyone already knew to trust the French with their dairy products, right?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
iStock
arrow
science
Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
Original image
iStock

Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios