Dietribes: Gum Control

Image credit: 

"¢ "Chewing gum may be a $19 billion industry, but it's not a universally accepted practice. Chewing gum is a crime in Singapore, and, in 15th-century Meso-America, it was the mark of a prostitute." And how!

"¢Â Early conceptions of chewing gum got a boost from a former Mexican President looking to return to power and get the funds to do so by re-inventing a rubber substitute, which explains a lot of things.

"¢Â Unfortunately, the first "gum" stuck to the face - so much so that it had to be removed by turpentine (yikes). Bubble Gum as we know it was invented in 1928, by Walter Diemer, an accountant at Fleer Chewing Gum Company. He developed a formula that didn't stick to the face and had enough elasticity to blow bubbles. Pink was the color on hand for the first batch and so it has doth sacredly remained.

"¢Â The process of making gum is probably really difficult to comprehend, but this cool animation breaks it down in simple terms.

"¢ So what really happens when you swallow your gum? Does it sit undigested in your gut until you die? Or does it simple pass on through?

"¢Â If you can't swallow gum, by George, what are you to do with it? Well you can place it in the shrine of Bubble Gum Alley, or Philadelphia's Gum Tree (actually it was cut down in 2008 ... BUT ...).

"¢Â Whatever you do, just don't spit your gum out in Singapore, where chewing gum is against the law (although they do allow Nicotine gum thanks to Rep. Philip Crane from Illinois ... the home of Wrigley) who applied pressure to lifting the ban as part of a free trade agreement.

"¢ That might change one day, however, since the first biodegradable gum is set to be introduced this year (though I wouldn't recommend spitting it freely).

"¢Â Maybe gum's not all bad - after all, some claim that it improves concentration. It also has a place in national history.

"¢ Gum is often associated with Baseball. Since dip and chew is often frowned upon by teams, some players chew gum instead. And some mix the two together - ew.

"¢ Finally, for those of you who haven't gotten a good night's sleep since asking yourself this question: how did Bazooka Joe lose his right eye?

"¢ I once had a teacher swear that in the future the Surgeon General would ban gum for causing jaw problems. So far so good on that front. What kind of gum is your favorite, Flossers? Do you mainly chew it for the minty tasty or get a big pink wad to blow into a bubble?

For more food and frivolity during the week, I am on Twitter.

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

"˜Dietribes' appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

More from mental_floss...

August 12, 2009 - 8:23am
submit to reddit