The Ice Cream Canteen Keeps Your Favorite Frozen Treat Cold for Hours

The Ice Cream Canteen
The Ice Cream Canteen

In 2017, Jordan Stern was living in a camper van, craving ice cream. He wished he had a container designed to keep ice cream cool, even on the road and in the great outdoors, no freezer necessary. Two years later, Stern has launched a Kickstarter for the world's first double-walled, vacuum insulated container made specifically for transporting pints of ice cream.

"There is nothing available now to take ice cream anywhere," Stern said in a press release. "You can barely get it home from the store without it melting. When I started telling people about the idea, everyone told me a different way that they would use it, and I realized this could be a great product."

The Ice Cream Canteen works like a travel mug, except for perfectly cold ice cream rather than hot coffee. The vacuum insulation keeps the ice cream cool enough to keep it from melting, while also acting like a koozie to keep your hands warm (though you still might get brain freeze). It reportedly keeps ice cream cold for around four hours, depending on the type of ice cream and various other factors.

Three Ice Cream Canteens on a picnic table
The Ice Cream Canteen

The Ice Cream Canteen is designed to fit all conventional ice cream pints. Just grab your favorite pint of ice cream—be it Häagen-Dazs, Halo Top, Ben and Jerry’s, or something artisanal—and drop it into the canteen. Screw on the watertight, insulated cap, and off you go. You can also use the canteen to store ice cream spooned from a larger container.

Take it to a barbecue, on road trips, to the drive-in, camping, or just sit in bed and eat an entire pint without getting your hands frozen (no judgment). For even better insulation, put the canteen in a cooler. “When inside a cooler with ice, The Ice Cream Canteen can work up to twice as long as it would on its own,” the Kickstarter page explains. Even if your ice cream does eventually melt, the leak-proof canteen will keep it from spilling all over everything else in your cooler.

Buy an Ice Cream Canteen for yourself on Kickstarter for $35. It comes in three colors: mint, coconut, and stainless steel. If all goes well, the canteens will start shipping in March 2020, just in time for your spring break trip.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

The Reason White Castle Slider Burgers Have Five Holes

White Castle
White Castle

While it’s not often mentioned in conversations about the best fast food burger on the menu alongside staples like Shake Shack or In-N-Out, the White Castle slider burger still holds a special place in the stomachs of those who enjoy their bite-sized convenience. In 2014, TIME even named the slider the most influential burger of all time, with its debut in 1921 helping begin our nation’s obsession with fast-service burgers.

Peel the bun off a White Castle burger and you’ll find the square meat patty has exactly five holes. Why? Thrillist writer Wil Fulton went looking for an answer to this gastronomic mystery. It turns out that the holes serve a very functional purpose.

In 1954, a Cincinnati-based White Castle employee named Earl Howell stuffed his location’s suggestion box with a note that said the patties might cook more quickly if they were pierced. The reason? The franchise steams its burgers on the grill, and the holes allow the steam to better penetrate the stacks of patties (usually 30 burgers tall) that are piled on the grill at one time. No one has to flip the burgers, and they wind up coming out of the kitchen faster. The steam also picks up the flavor of the onion acting as a bottom layer, allowing it to spread through the stack.

Howell’s idea soon spread from Ohio to White Castle restaurants nationwide. The company facilitates the creation of the holes by puncturing a “meat log” and then slicing it and sending the patties to locations.

If you enjoy their distinctive flavor, the holes have a lot to do with it. Enjoy.

[h/t Thrillist]

Why Do We Eat Candy on Halloween?

Jupiterimages/iStock via Getty Images
Jupiterimages/iStock via Getty Images

On October 31, hordes of children armed with Jack-o'-lantern-shaped buckets and pillow cases will take to the streets in search of sugar. Trick-or-treating for candy is synonymous with Halloween, but the tradition had to go through a centuries-long evolution to arrive at the place it is today. So how did the holiday become an opportunity for kids to get free sweets? You can blame pagans, Catholics, and candy companies.

Historians agree that a Celtic autumn festival called Samhain was the precursor to modern Halloween. Samhain was a time to celebrate the last harvest of the year and the approach of the winter season. It was also a festival for honoring the dead. One way Celtics may have appeased the spirits they believed still walked the Earth was by leaving treats on their doorsteps.

When Catholics infiltrated Ireland in the 1st century CE, they rebranded many pagan holidays to fit their religion. November 1 became the “feasts of All Saints and All Souls," and the day before it was dubbed "All-Hallows'-Eve." The new holidays looked a lot different from the original Celtic festival, but many traditions stuck around, including the practice of honoring the dead with food. The food of choice for Christians became "soul cakes," small pastries usually baked with expensive ingredients and spices like currants and saffron.

Instead of leaving them outside for passing ghosts, soul cakes were distributed to beggars who went door-to-door promising to pray for souls of the deceased in exchange for something to eat. Sometimes they wore costumes to honor the saints—something pagans originally did to avoid being harassed by evil spirits. The ritual, known as souling, is believed to have planted the seeds for modern-day trick-or-treating.

Souling didn't survive the holiday's migration from Europe to the United States. In America, the first Halloween celebrations were a way to mark the end-of-year harvest season, and the food that was served mainly consisted of homemade seasonal treats like caramel apples and mixed nuts. There were no soul cakes—or candies, for that matter—to be found.

It wasn't until the 1950s that trick-or-treating gained popularity in the U.S. Following the Great Depression and World War II, the suburbs were booming, and people were looking for excuses to have fun and get to know their neighbors. The old practice of souling was resurrected and made into an excuse for kids to dress up in costumes and roam their neighborhoods. Common trick-or-treat offerings included nuts, coins, and homemade baked goods ("treats" that most kids would turn their noses up at today).

That changed when the candy companies got their hands on the holiday. They had already convinced consumers that they needed candy on Christmas and Easter, and they were looking for an equally lucrative opportunity to market candy in the fall. The new practice of trick-or-treating was almost too good to be true. Manufacturers downsized candies into smaller, bite-sized packages and began marketing them as treats for Halloween. Adults were grateful to have a convenient alternative to baking, kids loved the sweet treats, and the candy companies made billions.

Today, it's hard to imagine Halloween without Skittles, chocolate bars, and the perennial candy corn debates. But when you're digging through a bag or bowl of Halloween candy this October, remember that you could have been having eating soul cakes instead.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER