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14 Creative and Clever Soaps

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If you want to get a gift for someone who seems to have everything they need or want, here's a bit of advice. You should get them something they can use up! Or else get them something that's so different and creative that they'll treasure it anyway. The soaps on the list could fill both suggestions.

1. Beaker and Test Tube Soaps

The Mad Scientist Soaps Gift Set contains a beaker and a test tube. Order as many as you like and Meilin at Two Eggplants Company will ship you the colors and scents you prefer. The soaps pictured are scented with raspberries, mint, and orange, but you can get unscented or even custom smells and colors. If you look close, you'll see bubbles at the top of the "chemicals" in the containers! Perfect for a scientist (mad or not), a science geek, or a student.

2. Game of Foams

Is someone on your gift list a Game of Thrones fanatic? They'll be thrilled to get a hand-carved soap with a crest for their preferred clan, here called Game of Foams. The Soap of Stark features a grey wolf on winter white, and the Soap of Lannister features a golden lion on crimson. Your choice, from GeekSoap.

3. Rice Krispy Treats Soap

This looks tempting, but don't take a bite out of it! These Rice Krispies treats are soap made of vegan glycerin. Are they crunchy? I don't know! But they will get you clean.

4. Fingers Soap

Get your hands clean with finger soap! These disembodied fingers come in a set of four so you can use as little or as much as you need. Creepy, yes, but they'll certainly draw attention -and may even encourage the most reluctant kids to lather up in the bathtub!

5. Cinnamon Chai Soap

A cup of chai is so tasty and relaxing, but can be fattening if you don't limit yourself. Cinnamon chai soap is NOT fattening at all, and has that same delicious scent that will linger after your bath.

6. Christmas Ribbon Candy Soap

If you buy Christmas candy soap, you'll want to keep it for yourself, or give it early enough for the recipient to display before the holiday. Of course, no matter how impressed guests are with your artistic soap, they won't actually use it because it's too pretty. So what? Use it yourself or save it to put out again next year! Ribbon candy soap smells like Christmas candy and comes in a random variety of red, white, and greens stripes -just like the real thing!

7. Beer Soap

Brooklyn Brewery, a real beer brewery, offers Beer Soap in their gift shop. Yes, there's beer in it, your choice of lager, ale, or stout. Hey, if beer is good for a shampoo, it must be good for body soap, too!

8. My Poop Does Not Stink

Now, this proves that you can get soap in any shape whatsoever. Titled My Poop Does Not Stink, this soap should always be in the bathroom -not the kitchen! Hand made by Leeana Provan of LoveLeeSoaps. She has quite a selection of more conventional soaps, too, including many Christmas designs.

9. Hamburger Soap

It's pretty neat to have soap in the shape of a hamburger patty, two pieces of bun, a piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato! Stack your soap hamburger however you want. The bun is French bread scented, which makes sense, but the rest is ...wait for it... bacon scented! No, it doesn't make sense, but isn't it wonderful? Of course, if you have time for a custom order, you can get this burger in another scent.

10. Elements

What's your favorite element? A collection called In Your Element has a variety of soap bars featuring different element symbols. Shown is uranium, which glows in the dark. The elements are colored somewhat like the element it represents. The sodium bar contains salt for scrubbing! If you can't make up your mind, BubbleGenius also has bars with several elements on them, spelling out "foam" or "soap," or you can get a set of a dozen bars.

11. Periodic Table Soap

You can also get the entire periodic table in one bar of soap from Two Eggplants.

12. D20 Soap On A Rope

Soap on a rope has been a Christmas gift staple for men for well over a half-century. Make it more than useful to your favorite D&D geek in the shape of a D20 die! Next thing you know, he'll be rolling the soap to determine what body part to wash next. The die is handmade with the regulation 20 sides, and it smells good, too.

13. Caffeinated Soap

Invigorate yourself in the morning with caffeine-infused soap. Each bar is made of vegetable-based glycerin with peppermint scent and caffeine. If you make a bar last for a dozen showers, you should get 200 milligrams of caffeine per shower, which can be absorbed through your skin depending on how long you leave it on.

14. Dentures

Dentures soap might not be the best gift for an elderly person who 1. wears dentures and b. doesn't see very well. But for anyone else it should be perfectly safe -and funny! Cup not included.

But that's not all! See more unusual soaps in the previous posts 10 Strange and Wonderful Soaps, 8 Attention-grabbing Soaps, and 9 Odd and Unusual Soaps.

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Big Questions
What is Duck Sauce?
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A plate of Chinese takeout with egg rolls and duck sauce
iStock

We know that our favorite Chinese takeout is not really authentically Chinese, but more of an Americanized series of menu options very loosely derived from overseas inspiration. (Chinese citizens probably wouldn’t recognize chop suey or orange-glazed chicken, and fortune cookies are of Japanese origin.) It would also be unusual for "real" Chinese meals to be accompanied by a generous amount of sauce packets.

Here in the U.S., these condiments are a staple of Chinese takeout. But one in particular—“duck sauce”—doesn’t really offer a lot of information about itself. What exactly is it that we’re pouring over our egg rolls?

Smithsonian.com conducted a sauce-related investigation and made an interesting discovery, particularly if you’re not prone to sampling Chinese takeout when traveling cross-country. On the East Coast, duck sauce is similar to sweet-and-sour sauce, only fruitier; in New England, it’s brown, chunky, and served on tables; and on the West Coast, it’s almost unheard of.

While the name can describe different sauces, associating it with duck probably stems from the fact that the popular Chinese dish Peking duck is typically served with a soybean-based sauce. When dishes began to be imported to the States, the Americanization of the food involved creating a sweeter alternative using apricots that was dubbed duck sauce. (In New England, using applesauce and molasses was more common.)

But why isn’t it easily found on the West Coast? Many sauce companies are based in New York and were in operation after Chinese food had already gained a foothold in California. Attempts to expand didn’t go well, and so Chinese food aficionados will experience slightly different tastes depending on their geography. But regardless of where they are, or whether they're using the condiment as a dipping sauce for their egg rolls or a dressing for their duck, diners can rest assured that no ducks were harmed in the making of their duck sauce.

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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Hamilton Broadway
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Food
A Hamilton-Themed Cookbook is Coming
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Hamilton Broadway

Fans of Broadway hit Hamilton will soon be able to dine like the Founding Fathers: As Eater reports, a new Alexander Hamilton-inspired cookbook is slated for release in fall 2017.

Cover art for Laura Kumin's forthcoming cookbook
Amazon

Called The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating, and Entertaining in Hamilton’s World, the recipe collection by author Laura Kumin “takes you into Hamilton’s home and to his table, with historical information, recipes, and tips on how you can prepare food and serve the food that our founding fathers enjoyed in their day,” according to the Amazon description. It also recounts Hamilton’s favorite dishes, how he enjoyed them, and which ingredients were used.

Recipes included are cauliflower florets two ways, fried sausages and apples, gingerbread cake, and apple pie. (Cue the "young, scrappy, and hungry" references.) The cookbook’s official release is on November 21—but until then, you can stave off your appetite for all things Hamilton-related by downloading the musical’s new app.

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