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Love Cotton Candy? You Can Thank a Dentist

There are some things that just don’t go together: vampires and garlic, doctors and a daily apple intake, and dentists and sugar. Well, most dentists, anyway. Dr. William James Morrison must not have gotten the memo before he invented the cotton candy machine. 

Morrison was a man at odds with himself. He was dedicated to his profession (even earning the title of President of the Tennessee Dental Association), but he also had a wicked sweet tooth. His indulgent side won out in 1899, when he and fellow confectioner John C. Wharton filed a patent for their “Candy Machine.” As the video above from Great Big Story explains, the pair then went on to debut their “Fairy Floss” to great success at the 1904 World’s Fair. 

Whether or not Morrison is the true inventor of cotton candy is a matter of debate. Like so much food history, the credit for cotton candy’s creation could be claimed by a lot of people, as various cultures have enjoyed some form of spun sugar since at least the 15th century. But if you’re talking about the modern, machine-spun incarnation, we’ve got Morrison and Wharton to thank. 

Header image from YouTube // Great Big Story.

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Food
You’ve Been Eating Corn on the Cob All Wrong
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Corn on the cob is a staple at most American backyard barbecues. But the way we consume it leaves much room for improvement, according to a recent viral Tweet. As Buzzfeed reports, a Twitter user from Japan has revealed an alternative way to eat corn that leaves less of it on the cob and in your teeth.

He claims to have discovered the hack after moving to Hokkaido. There, corn lovers apparently remove each kernel from the cob by hand. To follow their example, you start by cooking an ear of corn and digging out the kernels from one row with your fingers. After the messy part is over, you have room to break off entire lines of corn at once by laying your thumb on a row and bending it towards the empty space.

This method requires a bit more effort than simply eating corn off the cob with your teeth, but if you want to make the most of your meal it’s well worth it. Here’s what a cob looks like when all the corn has been picked off the Hokkaido way.

Looking for more life-changing food hacks? Here are more foods you may be eating wrong and the right ways to tackle them.

[h/t Buzzfeed]

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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?

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