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8 Pull 'n' Peel Facts About Twizzlers

Whether you’re snapping off bites, peeling them apart, or classing them up with a glass of champagne (it’s a thing), you can always make room for a few facts about Twizzlers. There might even something for you, Red Vines devotees.

1. THEY WERE INVENTED BY ONE OF AMERICA’S OLDEST CANDY COMPANIES.

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The history of Twizzlers stretches all the way back to before the Civil War. In 1845, the Young & Smylie firm set up shop in Brooklyn and began making licorice candies—everything from licorice root to lozenges to 5-pound tins of licorice pellets. In 1902, Y&S Candies, as it was known by then, merged with two other companies to form the National Licorice Company (it adopted the Y&S Candies name in 1968). In 1929, the company came out with Twizzlers, which weren’t available mainstream until the '60s. In 1977, Hershey’s bought Y&S Candies and molded Twizzlers into the soft, twisty brand it is today.

2. ONLY ONE FLAVOR CONTAINS ACTUAL LICORICE.

Shocking, we know: Despite Hershey’s calling them “licorice candy” (though not on packaging, mind you), Twizzlers are mostly absent that main ingredient. Instead, they’re made primarily with corn syrup, enriched wheat flour and artificial flavoring. Only the black licorice flavor contains licorice extract. From a health perspective, that may be a good thing, as the Food and Drug Administration once warned consumers about the dangers of eating too much licorice. From a taste perspective—well, nobody likes licorice candy, anyway.

3. THE RED VINES VS. TWIZZLERS FEUD IS PARTICULARLY NASTY.

North vs. South. Republican vs. Democrat. Red Vines vs. Twizzlers. Even though they’re made from essentially the same ingredients, both brands have fiercely loyal followings that tend to think the other side is completely nuts. You’re for either one or the other; you cannot be for both. A geographic divide between the west coast roots of Red Vines and the east coast beginnings of Twizzlers may account for some of the animosity. It also seems to be a matter of which brand people grew up eating. As each side lobs insults like “waxy,” “flavorless,” “disgusting” and “OMG what is wrong with you?!” at the other, America descends further into chaos.

4. THEY PLAYED A BIG ROLE IN THE IRAN NEGOTIATIONS.

It turns out America’s best foreign policy minds have the eating habits of a college senior cramming for midterms. Over the course of a month during this year’s tense nuclear talks with Iran, the American diplomatic team consumed 10 pounds of strawberry Twizzlers, along with 20 pounds of string cheese and more than 200 Rice Krispies treats. No word on whether their moms also sent them cases of Arizona Iced Tea to wash it all down.

5. THEY’RE HUGE IN UTAH.

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Hershey’s recently did some retail recon and found that Utah residents consume candy at twice the national rate. And Twizzlers are a favorite choice. The reason: More than 60 percent of the state is Mormon. “We don’t drink alcohol, we don’t smoke, we avoid coffee—but we certainly do sugar,” one resident told Bloomberg News. Utah also has a lot of kids, with 31 percent of the population under the age of 18, compared to the 23% national average.

6. IN SOUTH KOREA, NOT SO MUCH.

Huffington Post UK ran an amusing taste test that subjected South Koreans to American junk food. To them, eating Twizzlers amounted to eating rubber, and one of them wondered if the candy was “something that grandmas eat to practice chewing.” Ouch. Still, that’s not as bad as the criticism reserved for Pop Tarts (“It tastes like a candle”) and Goldfish (“It kind of feels like I’m eating belly fat”).

7. ATHLETES LOVE THEM.

They’re part of Floyd Mayweather’s pre-fight diet, and U.S. women’s soccer star Sydney Leroux has a thing for them, too. They’re also a favorite with long-distance runners as a quick source of energy.

8. HERSHEY’S MAKES ONE MILLION MILES OF TWIZZLERS EVERY YEAR.

That’s enough to circle the globe 40 times and still have room to stretch across America. 

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11 Secrets of Bodyguards
Tullio M. Puglia, Getty Images
Tullio M. Puglia, Getty Images

When CEOs, celebrities, and the extremely wealthy need personal protection, they call in men and women with a particular set of skills. Bodyguards provide a physical barrier against anyone wishing their clients harm, but there’s a lot more to the job—and a lot that people misunderstand about the profession. To get a better idea of what it takes to protect others, Mental Floss spoke with several veteran security experts. Here’s what they told us about being in the business of guaranteeing safety.

1. BIGGER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER.

When working crowd control or trying to corral legions of screaming teenagers, having a massive physical presence comes in handy. But not all "close protection specialists" need to be the size of a professional wrestler. “It really depends on the client,” says Anton Kalaydjian, the founder of Guardian Professional Security in Florida and former head of security for 50 Cent. “It’s kind of like shopping for a car. Sometimes they want a big SUV and sometimes they want something that doesn’t stick out at all. There’s a need for a regular-looking guy in clothes without an earpiece, not a monster.”

2. GUNS (AND FISTS) ARE PRETTY MUCH USELESS.

An armed bodyguard pulls a gun out of a holster
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Depending on the environment—protecting a musician at a concert is different from transporting the reviled CEO of a pharmaceutical company—bodyguards may or may not come armed. According to Kent Moyer, president and CEO of World Protection Group and a former bodyguard for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, resorting to gunplay means the security expert has pretty much already failed. “People don’t understand this is not a business where we fight or draw guns,” Moyer says. “We’re trained to cover and evacuate and get out of harm’s way. The goal is no use of force.” If a guard needs to draw a gun to respond to a gun, Moyer says he’s already behind. “If I fight, I failed. If I draw a gun, I failed.”

3. SOMETIMES THEY’RE HIRED TO PROTECT EMPLOYERS FROM EMPLOYEES.

A security guard stands by a door
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Workplace violence has raised red flags for companies who fear retribution during layoffs. Alan Schissel, a former New York City police sergeant and founder of Integrated Security, says he dispatches guards for what he calls “hostile work termination” appointments. “We get a lot of requests to provide armed security in a discreet manner while somebody is being fired,” he says. “They want to be sure the individual doesn’t come back and retaliate.”

4. SOME OF THEM LOVE TMZ.

For protection specialists who take on celebrity clients, news and gossip site TMZ.com can prove to be a valuable resource. “I love TMZ,” Moyer says. “It’s a treasure trove for me to see who has problems with bodyguards or who got arrested.” Such news is great for client leads. Moyer also thinks the site’s highly organized squad of photographers can be a good training scenario for protection drills. “You can look at paparazzi as a threat, even though they’re not, and think about how you’d navigate it.” Plus, having cameras at a location before a celebrity shows up can sometimes highlight information leaks in their operation: If photographers have advance notice, Moyer says, then security needs to be tightened up.

5. THEY DON’T LIVE THE LIFE YOU THINK THEY DO.

A bodyguard stands next to a client
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Because guards are often seen within arm’s reach of a celebrity, some think they must be having the same experiences. Not so. “A big misconception is that we’re living the same life as celebrities do,” Kalaydjian says. “Yes, we’re on a private jet sometimes, but we’re not enjoying the amenities. We might live in their house, but we’re not enjoying their pool. You stay to yourself, make your rounds.” Guards that get wrapped up in a fast-paced lifestyle don’t tend to last long, he says.

6. SOMETIMES THEY’RE JUST THERE FOR SHOW.

For some, being surrounded by a squad of serious-looking people isn’t a matter of necessity. It’s a measure of status on the level of an expensive watch or a fast car. Firms will sometimes get calls from people looking for a way to get noticed by hiring a fleet of guards when there's no threat involved. “It’s a luxury amenity,” Schissel says. “It’s more of a ‘Look at me, look at them’ thing,” agrees Moyer. “There’s no actual threat. It’s about the show. I turn those down. We do real protection.”

7. THEY CAN MAKE THEIR CLIENT'S DAY MORE EFFICIENT.

A bodyguard escorts a client through a group of photographers
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Because guards will scope out destinations in advance, they often know exactly how to enter and exit locations without fumbling for directions or dealing with site security. That’s why, according to Moyer, CEOs and celebrities can actually get more done during a work day. “If I’m taking you to Warner Bros., I know which gate to go in, I’ve got credentials ahead of time, and I know where the bathrooms are.” Doing more in a day means more money—which means a return on the security investment.

8. “BUDDYGUARDS” ARE A PROBLEM.

When evaluating whether or not to take on a new employee, Kalaydjian weeds out anyone looking to share in a client’s fame. “I’ve seen guys doing things they shouldn’t,” he says. “They’re doing it to be seen.” Bodyguards posting pictures of themselves with clients on social media is a career-killer: No one in the industry will take a “buddyguard” seriously. Kalaydjian recalls the one time he smirked during a 12-year-stint guarding the same client, something so rare his employer commented on it. “It’s just not the side you portray on duty.”

9. SOCIAL MEDIA MAKES THEIR JOB HARDER.

A bodyguard stands next to a client
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High-profile celebrities maintain their visibility by engaging their social media users, which often means posting about their travels and events. For fans, it can provide an interesting perspective into their routine. For someone wishing them harm, it’s a road map. “Sometimes they won’t even tell me, and I’ll see on Snapchat they’ll be at a mall at 2 p.m.,” Kalaydjian says. “I wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

10. NOT EVERY CELEBRITY IS PAYING FOR THEIR OWN PROTECTION.

The next time you see a performer surrounded by looming personal protection staff, don’t assume he or she is footing the bill. “A lot of celebrities can’t afford full-time protection,” Moyer says, referring to the around-the-clock supervision his agency and others provide. “Sometimes, it’s the movie or TV show they’re doing that’s paying for it. Once the show is over, they no longer have it, or start getting the minimum.”

11. THEY DON’T LIKE BEING CALLED “BODYGUARDS.”

A bodyguard puts his hand up to the camera
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Few bodyguards will actually refer to themselves as bodyguards. Moyer prefers executive protection agents, because, he says, bodyguard tends to carry a negative connotation of big, unskilled men. “There is a big group of dysfunctional people with no formal training who should not be in the industry,” he says. Sometimes, a former childhood friend can become “security,” a role they’re not likely to be qualified for. Moyer and other firms have specialized training courses, with Moyer's taking cues from Secret Service protocols. But Moyer also cautions that agencies enlisting hyper-driven combat specialists like Navy SEALs or SWAT team members aren't the answer, either. “SEALs like to engage and fight, destroying the bad guy. Our goal is, we don’t want to be in the same room as the bad guy.”

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Here's the Right Way to Pronounce Kitchenware Brand Le Creuset

If you were never quite sure how to pronounce the name of beloved French kitchenware brand Le Creuset, don't fret: For the longest time, southern chef, author, and PBS personality Vivian Howard wasn't sure either.

In this video from Le Creuset, shared by Food & Wine, Howard prepares to sear some meat in her bright orange Le Creuset pot and explains, "For the longest time I had such a crush on them but I could never verbalize it because I didn’t know how to say it and I was so afraid of sounding like a big old redneck." Listen closely as she demonstrates the official, Le Creuset-endorsed pronunciation at 0:51.

Le Creuset is known for its colorful, cast-iron cookware, which is revered by pro chefs and home cooks everywhere. The company first introduced their durable pots to the world in 1925. Especially popular are their Dutch ovens, which are thick cast-iron pots that have been around since the 18th century and are used for slow-cooking dishes like roasts, stews, and casseroles.

[h/t Food & Wine]

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