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Sugar High

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Yesterday, we posted about The Condiment Packet Museum. But don't bother clicking if your interest is sugar packets. The curators say sugar packets have been done to death elsewhere. And they're not kidding.

Sucrology is the hobby of collecting you know what. Here are links to websites maintained by a few of the most ardent collectors:

+The Miller Family of Greenfield, Indiana, has a very comprehensive look at the sugar packet trade. This sentence sums it up beautifully: "What do you need to start? Really only some sugar packets."

McPlane.jpg+For an Eastern European perspective, visit the site of Frantisek Rehak of the Czech Republic. The Airline gallery is my favorite.

+Ernest Craddock offers tips on building your collection, such as "how to avoid the waiters/waitresses beady eye." Another nugget: "your collection might well turn out to be your personal hedge against inflation."

sugarpackets01.jpg+Liesbeth Vergouwe includes pictures from collector conventions and tips for what you can do with torn packets.

+And finally, most of the fan sites link back to The U.K. Sucrologists Club. So I will too.

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Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
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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.

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science
Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
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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.

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