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The Best Chili in All 50 States

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Nothing takes the sting out of a cold, dreary day quite like a warm bowl of chili. No matter how you like it—extra spicy, vegetarian, sans beans, or hidden by a topcoat of cheese and sour cream—the perfect bowl of chili is out there waiting to be discovered. These are some of the best options in all 50 states.

1. ALABAMA // CHRIS' HOT DOGS

Chris' Hot Dogs
Jimmy Emerson DVM, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: Montgomery, Alabama

For over a century, Chris’ Hot Dogs has enticed presidents, movie stars, and regular folk with its famous franks and legendary chili sauce. Founded by Chris Katechis, a Greek immigrant, the restaurant uses a secret family recipe to make 10 gallons of chili every day. Not only can you cover your hot dog or hamburger in it or order it by the bowl, you could also take home a pint ($5), quart ($9.50), or gallon ($35) to satisfy any off-hour cravings.

2. ALASKA // BREAD AND BREW

chili at Bread and Brew
Courtesy of Bread and Brew

Location: Anchorage, Alaska

This hip sandwich shop pours their hearty Alaskan Reindeer Chili into a bread bowl. You'll find reindeer sausage, kidney beans, tomatoes, green peppers, and onions in this savory blend.

3. ARIZONA // CRACKERS AND CO. CAFE

Cup of chili
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Location: Tempe and Mesa, Arizona

Head to Crackers & Co. Cafe for lunch, where everything on the menu is made from scratch. The soup selection is impressive, and the cup of chili is flavorful and a delightful half of a soup-and-sandwich order.

4. ARKANSAS // IZZY'S RESTAURANT

bowl of chili
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Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

This family owned Little Rock restaurant creates all its recipes, grows its own herbs, and even has a honey bee and Monarch butterfly garden. Their fantastic chili is made with fresh certified Angus beef, pinto beans, and tomatoes, and can be ordered on its own or as a topping for Izzy's tamale platters.

5. CALIFORNIA // MARTY'S HAMBURGER STAND

Chili burger
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Location: Los Angeles, California

Near Rancho Park in West Los Angeles, Marty's Hamburger Stand is a tiny, cash-only spot that has served Vienna beef burgers and hot dogs since 1959. The chili at Marty's has a thick, spreadable consistency that works perfectly atop chili cheese fries and burgers.

6. COLORADO // WEST END TAP HOUSE

Bowl of chili
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Location: Denver, Colorado

The West End Tap House makes a fine Wild Boar Sloppy Joe and raved-about "Lambsicle" appetizers, but for a hearty bowl of chili on a chilly day, you can't beat their elk chili, made with ground elk, black beans, and tomatoes and topped with plenty of cheese and onions .

7. CONNECTICUT // VANILLA BEAN CAFE

chili at Vanilla Bean Cafe
Courtesy of Chip Riegel and Vanilla Bean Cafe

Location: Pomfret, Connecticut

Located in a restored barn dating back to the early 1800s, Vanilla Bean Cafe is a cute place with some killer chili. Their award-winning, traditional beef chili contains lean ground beef and chorizo, and it's topped with grated cheddar cheese, scallions, and tortilla chips. And if you can't make it to Connecticut, the full 20-ingredient recipe is available here [PDF] if you want to make your own.

8. DELAWARE // THE DOG HOUSE

Hot dog with chili
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Location: New Castle, Delaware

As you might be able to ascertain from its name, The Dog House isn't fancy. But the old-fashioned hot dog dive has an under-$5 foot-long chili cheese dog that has had generations of fans coming back for more.

9. FLORIDA // THE STONE SOUP COMPANY

Ybor Chili at The Stone Soup Company
Courtesy of The Stone Soup Company

Location: Tampa, Florida

This gourmet soup and sandwich shop in the Ybor City Historic District serves healthy, amazing food. Play some dominoes or checkers as you wait for your Ybor Chili. Available in a cup, bowl, or quart, this meaty chili contains ground beef, Italian sausage, and pulled Cuban mojo pork.

10. GEORGIA // NU-WAY WEINERS

Nu-Way Weiner Stand
Tom Spinker, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: Multiple locations, Georgia

With locations in Macon, Warner Robins, and Fort Valley, you're never too far from a Nu-Way Weiners. Since it first opened in 1916 (making it the second-oldest hot doggery in the U.S., after Nathan's Famous in New York), Nu-Way has made a comforting bowl of chili, and it now serves a mouthwatering chili-cheese coleslaw hot dog.

11. HAWAII // ZIPPY'S KAPAHULU

Zippy's Kapahulu
Sun Brockie, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: Multiple locations, Hawaii

This famous diner with two dozen locations throughout Hawaii sells insane amounts of its fantastic signature product, Original Recipe Chili. Get the chili with chicken or a frank, over rice, atop cheese fries, or as a burrito—the choice is yours!

12. IDAHO // DAWG ON GRILL

Hot dogs with chili on a grill
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Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho

Dawg On Grill is a hot dog establishment where you'll find plenty of "dawgs"—corn dogs, brats, sausages, and "puppy dawgs" for the kids. The chili dog with grilled onions, peppers, and nacho cheese will satisfy your cravings, but if a simple chili topping isn't enough, you can get a bowl for just $3.50.

13. ILLINOIS // BISHOP'S FAMOUS CHILI

Pot of chili.
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Location: Westmont, Illinois

The cooks at Bishop's Famous Chili (currently the fourth generation of Bishops making the recipe "Grandma Bishop" used to open the doors in 1925) spend 24 hours making each batch of chili, and you can taste that time and effort with every flavorful bite. If you're feeling ravenous, get your chili with a tamale and a side of cornbread.

14. INDIANA // LOUGHMILLER'S PUB & EATERY

chili at Loughmiller's Pub & Eatery
Courtesy of Loughmiller's Pub & Eatery

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

This fun pub hosts live music and celebrates Colts home games with drink specials and tailgates. The chili is full of ground beef and kidney beans, and pairs well with a beer and Pepper Jack Stuffed Pretzels.

15. IOWA // QUINTON'S BAR AND DELI

Bread bowl of chili.
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Location: Multiple locations, Iowa

Residents of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and Coralville know that Quinton's Bar and Deli makes a mean homemade chili. The bread bowl chili is meaty and topped with diced red onions and shredded cheddar.

16. KANSAS // WOODYARD BAR-B-QUE

Burnt ends chili
Nubby Tongue, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: Kansas City, Kansas

Three words: burnt end chili. The three-bean chili at this beloved barbecue restaurant is a stew of black, red, and kidney beans, plus a generous amount of paprika and cayenne. It's topped with burnt ends, those gloriously fatty, flavorful pieces of brisket, which really add a punch to the classic dish.

17. KENTUCKY // THE CAFE

Bowl of chili with beer.
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Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Don't let this cafe's simple name fool you: The food is complex, thoughtful, and memorable. Situated in a former warehouse in Paristown Pointe, The Cafe serves a rustic West Yellowstone Montana Chili with diced green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, and banana peppers.

18. LOUISIANA // DOE'S EAT PLACE

chili at Doe’s Eat Place
Courtesy of Doe’s Eat Place

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Carnivores will love Doe's Eat Place, which has been cooking sensational steaks and tamales since 1941. Go for dinner and get a half-dozen all-beef tamales, which come with a cup of Doe's delightful homemade chili.

19. MAINE // GEAGHAN'S PUB

Nacho salad with chili
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Location: Bangor, Maine

Craft beer, live Celtic music, and hearty chili can all be found at Geaghan's Pub. The bowl of beef chili is served with tortilla chips—perfect for dipping—and they also top their nacho salad with it, in case you'd like some greens as well.

20. MARYLAND // ONE-EYED MIKE'S

Chili in white bowl
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Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Take one step into this gastropub in Fell's Point, and you'll see thousands of Grand Marnier bottles, each belonging to one member of the pub's Grand Marnier club. The fantastic chili here, though, will make you forget all about your boozy surroundings. It's served with tortilla chips, sour cream, and cheddar cheese.

21. MASSACHUSETTS // GRENDEL'S DEN

chili at Grendel's Den
Courtesy of Grendel's Den

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Customers rave about the chili at Grendel's Den, a popular restaurant near Harvard Square. The Five Bean chili is unique and spectacular, thanks to the cilantro pesto and cornbread that accompany it.

22. MICHIGAN // CHELI'S CHILI BAR

Outside of Cheli's Chili Bar.

Location: Detroit, Michigan

This sports bar is owned by Chris Chelios, a former ice hockey player for the Detroit Red Wings. The three-time Stanley Cup champ clearly knows his way around the ice and a bowl of chili. Order the original, chicken, or vegetarian chili, and spice it to your liking with additional jalapeños.

23. MINNESOTA // THE LOON CAFE

Window of The Loon Cafe.
Zara Gonzalez Hoang, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Loon Cafe is seriously crazy about chili. A few of the many options include Pinto's Diablo Chili (ground beef, vegetables, and kidney beans) and Turkey White Bean (lean ground turkey breast and garlic tomato sauce). Various chilis are served with Texas toast, flour tortillas, or jalapeño cornbread.

24. MISSISSIPPI // MUGSHOTS GRILL AND BAR

Chili on nachos.
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Location: Multiple locations, Mississippi

At Mugshots Grill and Bar, the people are friendly, the flavors are sufficiently Southern, and the chili is criminally good. The Walker's Texas Ranger chili is full of beef, bell peppers, onions, and diced tomatoes. For a bit more crunch, try Spencer's Nachos, which are piled high with beef chili and cheese.

25. MISSOURI // BLUEBERRY HILL

Neon sign at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis.
Timothy K. Hamilton, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

This restaurant and music venue in the Delmar Loop has given locals the perfect place to chow down since 1972. Its award-winning spicy chili, garnished simply with cheddar cheese, isn't the restaurant’s only draw. If you recognize the name, it's likely in connection with rock pioneer Chuck Berry, who kept a standing monthly set at the venue for more than 17 years, up until his death at age 90. Don't forget to check out the impressive collection of pop culture memorabilia on display before you leave.

26. MONTANA // CASEY'S WHITEFISH

chili at Casey’s Whitefish
Courtesy of Casey’s Whitefish

Location: Whitefish, Montana

Located just outside Glacier National Park, Casey's Whitefish is a pub and grill that serves an extraordinary elk chili made with pinto and black beans, green onions, and mild cheddar and jack cheese. When the weather’s warm, head upstairs to enjoy the view at the area’s only rooftop bar. After you enjoy your chili, you can try your luck at the casino games on the restaurant’s first floor.

27. NEBRASKA // HI-WAY DINER

The Hi-Way Diner in Nebraska
Zach Inglis, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

This diner on the south side of Nebraska's scenic Highway 2 is open 24 hours a day, keeping customers happy day or night with plenty of comfort food. For the perfect road-trip snack, get the homemade chili on its own, or try the chili omelet, served with onion and cheddar.

28. NEVADA // BEEFY'S

chili at Beefy’s
Courtesy of Beefy’s

Location: Reno, Nevada

All the beef at Beefy's comes from Reno's own Ponderosa Meat & Provision Co., and you can taste the quality with every bite of chili con carne. Made fresh each day, the chili is topped with parsley and cheddar cheese. You can order it on its own or on top of a hot dog, burger, omelet, or fries.

29. NEW HAMPSHIRE // RED ARROW DINER

Two women at the Red Arrow Diner.
Roger C. Goun, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Multiple locations, New Hampshire

When you eat at Red Arrow Diner, you're dining at a place with history. The first location opened in Manchester in 1922, and today, its chili dishes are famous across New England. We recommend the chili hash browns and the Five Alarm chili.

30. NEW JERSEY // OCEAN CAFE

Chicken chili
iStock

Location: Multiple locations, New Jersey

With four locations across Central New Jersey, Ocean Cafe is a casual restaurant chain that focuses on healthy offerings like salads, wraps, and smoothies. The chicken chili is a highlight of the menu thanks to its sweet-and-spicy flavor and generous portions of meat.

31. NEW MEXICO // FRONTIER RESTAURANT

bowl of green chili stew

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Finding the best bowl of chili can be challenging in a state known for its peppers, but in New Mexico, look no farther than Frontier Restaurant, an Albuquerque staple just off the University of New Mexico campus. Its green chile stew is so beloved that many fans try to make it at home, but nothing compares to the real deal. You can order it by the bowl or on top of your burrito or enchilada. The stew is also on the menu at Frontier’s sister restaurant, Golden Pride, which has four locations across Albuquerque.

32. NEW YORK // CHAMPS DINER

Bowl of vegetarian chili.
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Location: Brooklyn, New York

You'll find stellar comfort food like chili cheese fries and milkshakes at this Williamsburg diner, with a twist: Everything on the menu happens to be vegan. Take a break from meaty chilis and get a bowl of the three-bean version at Champs. We recommend washing it down with a cookie dough shake.

33. NORTH CAROLINA // ROSETTA'S KITCHEN

Hearty Chili at Rosetta's Kitchen
Courtesy of Rosetta's Kitchen

Location: Asheville, North Carolina

The best chili in North Carolina also happens to be meatless. This vegetarian soul food restaurant crafts thoughtful, creative dishes using local produce and top-notch ingredients. Their chili is a spicy vegan option that will warm you up in no time. If you don't want it in a bowl, the chili cheese fries are hand-cut and smothered in vegan queso.

34. NORTH DAKOTA // DOGMAHAL DOGHAUS

Chili dog with cheese.
iStock

Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota

DogMahal DogHaus is a hot dog and sausage joint with a spunky vibe. Though it specializes in franks, it also does a mean chili. The Under Dog is a quarter-pound beef frank brimming with hot chili, onions, and cheese. If you're aren't feeling the dog, you can get the chili on its own, too.

35. OHIO // CAMP WASHINGTON CHILI

Chili on spaghetti
iStock

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

This chili parlor in Camp Washington might be the ultimate destination for chili lovers. The restaurant's renown chili is available by itself, over spaghetti (a local delicacy), on a burger or fries, or topped with beans or cheese. With so many options, you'll definitely need to make multiple trips back.

36. OKLAHOMA // IKE'S CHILI

Chili with mac and cheese
iStock

Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Ike Johnson and his nephew, Ivan, opened this chili establishment back in 1908. Over a century later, their famous recipe still delights customers (and Martha Stewart). You can order the original beef chili or opt to get it with beans, spaghetti, or mac and cheese.

37. OREGON // BALDY'S BARBEQUE

Plate of barbecue, chili, and fries.
Bill Roehl, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: Redmond and Bend, Oregon

Central Oregon's Baldy's Barbecue is the place to get some truly magnificent meat. Voted one of the best barbecue joints in the area, this family-owned restaurant serves its spicy smokehouse chili with cheese, diced onions, sour cream, and a side of cornbread.

38. PENNSYLVANIA // DOUBLE WIDE GRILL

Double Wide Grill in Pittsburgh
Brett VA, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Multiple locations, Pennsylvania

The Double Wide Grill knows how to entertain vegans and meat lovers alike. Nosh on the spicy Jailhouse Beef Chili (no beans, for you chili con carne purists) or the equally spicy grilled vegetable chili, which contains beans, tomatoes, and corn. Its three locations in the Pittsburgh area boast bar trivia, karaoke, and live entertainment, and its South Side restaurant has been voted one of the best outdoor dining options in the area—it even has a special dog patio featuring a separate menu just for Fido. (Sorry, that one doesn't feature chili.)

39. RHODE ISLAND // BEN'S CHILI DOGS

Chili dog on bun
iStock

Location: Newport, Rhode Island

The state might be known for its clam chowder, but Ben's Chili Dogs has been serving up the red-meat favorite since 1969 (though yes, they also serve clam rolls and chowder). To get a true Rhode Island version of the classic chili dog, sprinkle some celery salt on top.

40. SOUTH CAROLINA // PAWLEYS FRONT PORCH

Chili on fries.
iStock

Location: Columbia, South Carolina

Relaxing on a porch is a distinctively Southern experience, and Pawleys Front Porch injects that kind of laid-back hospitality into its food. Located in Five Points, this restaurant is known for its patio, food truck, and thick burgers. The chili, which is divine, is available in a cup or bowl, or atop hand-cut fries.

41. SOUTH DAKOTA // PHILLIPS AVENUE DINER

chili from Phillips Avenue Diner
Courtesy of Phillips Avenue Diner

Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Phillips Avenue Diner boasts a jukebox, milkshakes, and some of the best diner chili anywhere. Enjoy the retro vibe as you dig in to a big bowl of homemade ground beef and beans, either as-is or loaded with tasty toppings.

42. TENNESSEE // ELWOOD'S SHACK

Outside of Elwood's Shack in Memphis.
Memphis CVB, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Memphis, Tennessee

Elwood's Shack is a down-home establishment that serves barbecue, fish tacos, and burgers. Their outstanding chili is made with Texas beef brisket, Guinness Stout, and curry powder.

43. TEXAS // THE SHADY GROVE

The Shady Grove's Roasted Vegetable Chili
Courtesy of The Shady Grove

Location: Austin, Texas

Located near Barton Creek and the Colorado River, The Shady Grove is a casual restaurant with a huge patio and plenty of shade from a nearby grove of pecan trees. The roasted vegetable chili contains diced onions, jalapeños, and jack and cheddar cheese.

44. UTAH // THE MOAB BREWERY

chili at The Moab Brewery
Courtesy of The Moab Brewery

Location: Moab, Utah

As Moab’s only microbrewery, The Moab Brewery has a natural advantage when it comes to blowing people's minds and tastebuds. Sip on their popular Dead Horse Ale as you wait for a cup of the chunky vegetarian chili, which is chock-full of healthy vegetables.

45. VERMONT // LANGDON STREET TAVERN

bowl of chili on a blue table
iStock

Location: Montpelier, Vermont

This Irish watering hole has a pool table, Vermont-brewed beers on tap, and some of the best homemade chili in the state. The southwest-style chili is topped with cheddar-jack cheese and served with a hunk of garlic bread.

46. VIRGINIA // STATION 2

Station 2's Firehouse Chili
Courtesy of Station 2

Location: Richmond, Virginia

Located in a former fire house called Engine Company 2, Station 2 cooks gourmet burgers made from natural, Virginia-grown beef. Get a side of firehouse chili with your burger, or go all in with the chili cheeseburger or "American nachos" (a.k.a. potato chips under a blanket of chili and cheese).

47. WASHINGTON // HOLE IN THE WALL BARBECUE

Chuck’s Railroad Chili at Hole in the Wall Barbecue
Courtesy of Hole in the Wall Barbecue

Location: Seattle, Washington

Barbecue and chili often go hand in hand, but this barbecue spot has perfected the art of tangy sauce, smoky meats, and spectacular chili. Chuck's Railroad Chili is a thick, spicy red stew bursting with black beans and ground beef.

48. WEST VIRGINIA // CUSTARD STAND

chili at Custard Stand
Courtesy of Custard Stand

Location: Multiple locations

Custard Stand started out in 1991 as a take-out dairy bar, but customers loved their chili so much that the company shifted focus. The founders appeared on Shark Tank in 2016, and today, you can enjoy their beefy hot dog chili or chili soup with beef and beans.

49. WISCONSIN // RED ROCK SALOON

chili with Fritos
iStock

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mouthwatering barbecue, live rock and country music, and a mechanical bull make Red Rock Saloon a wild place to hang out. Try their famous Red Rock Chili, or get the brisket chili atop the Frito Pie Burger.

50. WYOMING // CHUGWATER SODA FOUNTAIN

Outside of Chugwater Diner

Location: Chugwater, Wyoming

This cute soda fountain is Wyoming's oldest operating soda fountain, and you can feel the history oozing from the walls. Choose between their famous Chugwater Chili or green chili, both of which pair well with a hand-dipped ice cream shake.

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Big Questions
Why Does Asparagus Make Your Pee Smell Funny?
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The asparagus has a long and storied history. It was mentioned in the myths and the scholarly writings of ancient Greece, and its cultivation was the subject of a detailed lesson in Cato the Elder's treatise, On Agriculture. But it wasn't until the turn of the 18th century that discussion of the link between asparagus and odorous urine emerged. In 1731, John Arbuthnot, physician to Queen Anne, noted in a book about food that asparagus "affects the urine with a foetid smell ... and therefore have been suspected by some physicians as not friendly to the kidneys." Benjamin Franklin also noticed that eating asparagus "shall give our urine a disagreeable odor."

Since then, there has been debate over what is responsible for the stinky pee phenomenon. Polish chemist and doctor Marceli Nencki identified a compound called methanethiol as the cause in 1891, after a study that involved four men eating about three and a half pounds of asparagus apiece. In 1975, Robert H. White, a chemist at the University of California at San Diego, used gas chromatography to pin down several compounds known as S-methyl thioesters as the culprits. Other researchers have blamed various "sulfur-containing compounds" and, simply, "metabolites."

More recently, a study demonstrated that asparagusic acid taken orally by subjects known to produce stinky asparagus pee produced odorous urine, which contained the same volatile compounds found in their asparagus-induced odorous urine. Other subjects, who normally didn't experience asparagus-induced odorous urine, likewise were spared stinky pee after taking asparagusic acid.

The researchers concluded that asparagusic acid and its derivatives are the precursors of urinary odor (compared, in different scientific papers, to the smell of "rotten cabbage," "boiling cabbage" and "vegetable soup"). The various compounds that contribute to the distinct smell—and were sometimes blamed as the sole cause in the past—are metabolized from asparagusic acid.

Exactly how these compounds are produced as we digest asparagus remains unclear, so let's turn to an equally compelling, but more answerable question:

WHY DOESN'T ASPARAGUS MAKE YOUR PEE SMELL FUNNY?

Remember when I said that some people don't produce stinky asparagus pee? Several studies have shown that only some of us experience stinky pee (ranging from 20 to 40 percent of the subjects taking part in the study, depending on which paper you read), while the majority have never had the pleasure.

For a while, the world was divided into those whose pee stank after eating asparagus and those whose didn't. Then in 1980, a study complicated matters: Subjects whose pee stank sniffed the urine of subjects whose pee didn't. Guess what? The pee stank. It turns out we're not only divided by the ability to produce odorous asparagus pee, but the ability to smell it.

An anosmia—an inability to perceive a smell—keeps certain people from smelling the compounds that make up even the most offensive asparagus pee, and like the stinky pee non-producers, they're in the majority.

Producing and perceiving asparagus pee don't go hand-in-hand, either. The 1980 study found that some people who don't produce stinky pee could detect the rotten cabbage smell in another person's urine. On the flip side, some stink producers aren't able to pick up the scent in their own urine or the urine of others.

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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Food
15 Rich Facts About Fudge
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You probably know the basics about this decadent dessert: It's rich, it's creamy, and it comes in a variety of mouth-watering flavors. (Red velvet cake batter fudge? Yes please!) But there is plenty more fun trivia to digest. In honor of National Fudge Day, we’re serving up the sweetest morsels.

1. WHEN THE DESSERT WAS INVENTED, IT CHANGED THE PREVIOUS MEANING OF FUDGE.

In the late 17th century, fudge was a verb meaning "to fit together or adjust [clumsily]." Then around 1800, the word was used to mean a hoax or cheat. By mid-century, the use of the term “Oh, fudge!” as a kid-friendly expletive had come into favor, and was often used when something had been messed up. It’s believed that the first batch of fudge was created when someone was trying to make caramels and “fudged” up. The name stuck.

2. IT HAS STRONG TIES TO BALTIMORE.

The earliest origin story for fudge dates back to 1921, when Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, a former Vassar student, wrote a letter describing her introduction to the treat. She claims that while attending classes in 1886, a classmate's cousin living in Baltimore made the dessert, and this was her first knowledge of it. She also mentions a grocery store, probably in Baltimore, that sold fudge for 40 cents a pound.

3. THE TREAT BECAME WILDLY POPULAR AT VASSAR.

Two years after discovering fudge, Battersby Hartridge got ahold of the recipe and made 30 pounds of it for the Vassar Senior Auction. In Vassar, The Alumnae/i Quarterly, they claim the sweet became so favored that “students would make it in the middle of the night, dangerously diverting the gas from their lamps for the task.”

4. STILL, IT TOOK A WHILE FOR COMPANIES TO MASS-PRODUCE IT.

Skuse’s Complete Confectioner was known as a guide for all things dessert—but the first editions of the book, printed in the late 1800s, didn’t include any recipes for fudge. In later editions, they made up for lost time, including recipes for rainbow fudge (food colorings), Mexican fudge (raisins, nuts, and coconut), maple fudge, and three types of chocolate fudge.

5. AMERICANS MAY HAVE STOLEN THE CONCEPT FROM THE SCOTS.

Fudge is thought to be a descendent of tablet—a medium-hard confection from Scotland. The two treats use similar ingredients, but fudge is richer, softer, and slightly less grainy than its European cousin.

6. THERE'S A WORLD RECORD FOR THE LARGEST SLAB.

The 5760-pound behemoth was crafted at the Northwest Fudge Factory in Ontario, Canada in 2010. It reportedly took a full week to make, and while ingredients aren't available for this record, the previous record holder contained 705 pounds of butter, 2800 pounds of chocolate, and 305 gallons of condensed milk.

7. MAKING FUDGE TAKES SOME SCIENCE.

Early fudge recipes were prone to disaster, with one 1902 magazine explaining "fudge is one of the most difficult confections to make properly." With candy thermometers not becoming commonplace for several years, most recipes required boiling and hoping for the best. Eventually more foolproof recipes were created that included corn syrup (which helps prevent the crystallization that can result in a gritty texture) and condensed milk or marshmallow crème.

8. IT'S NOT ALL THAT DIFFERENT THAN FONDANT.

Fudge is actually a drier version of fondant—not the stiff, malleable kind so often seen on cake decorating shows, but the kind found in candies like peppermint patties and cherry cordials. 

9. A TINY ISLAND IN MICHIGAN CONSIDERS ITSELF THE FUDGE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

There are upwards of a dozen fudge shops on 4.35-square mile Mackinac Island in northern Michigan. (Permanent population on the tourist destination: just shy of 500, per the 2010 census.) The oldest candy shop on the island, Murdick’s Candy Kitchen, opened in 1887, while May's Candy claims to be the oldest fudge shop.

10. MACKINAC ISLAND CRANKS OUT OVER 10,000 POUNDS OF FUDGE DAILY DURING PEAK SEASON.

For production, fudge makers ship in about 10 tons of sugar each week and roughly 10 tons of butter each year. Every August, the island hosts the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival, complete with events like Fudge on the Rocks, where local bartenders craft fudge-y libations.

11. FIRST LADY MAMIE EISENHOWER WAS A HUGE FUDGE FAN.

She even crafted her own recipe—named Mamie’s Million-Dollar Fudge—which her husband, Ike, quite liked. It included chopped nuts and marshmallow crème.

12. THE HOT FUDGE SUNDAE WAS CREATED IN HOLLYWOOD.

C.C. Brown’s, an iconic ice cream parlor on Hollywood Boulevard, was credited for dreaming up the idea to drizzle melted fudge over ice cream in 1906 (earlier sundaes had other syrups, like cherry). Sadly, the shop closed in 1996, but the treat remains popular.

13. THE BRITS HAD A SWEET NAME FOR FUDGE.

A description of fudge, found in the 1920 tome Harmsworth’s Household Encyclopedia, read, “A sweetmeat that hails from America, but is now popular in other countries.” (To be fair, in the UK the term "sweetmeat” is applied to a variety of sweet treats.)

14. AT ONE POINT, YOU COULD BUY A LIFETIME SUPPLY OF FUDGE.

Harry Ryba, known as the fudge king of Mackinac Island, once offered to mail out a lifetime supply of the candy—three pounds a month—to any customer willing to pay $2250 upfront. “A lifetime, being yours or mine, whichever ends sooner,” he said, per The New York Times. Not a bad deal, considering he passed away at age 88.

15. FUDGE CAN KEEP FOR A LONG TIME.

Airtight packages of the confection can be frozen and stored up to a year without losing any flavor, which means that you can feel free to give in to temptation and buy a larger chunk while on vacation this year. And about that lifetime supply…

All images via iStock.

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