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Another 10 Fascinating Food Facts

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

In December last year, we wrote a list of Top 10 Incredible Food Facts which was very popular. So we are now presenting you with a second list of even more fascinating food facts. If you want to add some interesting facts of your own to the comments, please feel free.


Butter Tea

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Fascinating Fact: In Tibet, a common drink is butter tea – it is made from yak butter, salt, and tea.

The average Tibetan can drink 50 – 60 cups of this tea in any one day! It is made by drying Chinese tea in the road for several days (to let it acquire a strong flavor). The tea is then boiled for up to half a day and churned in bamboo churns to which salt, a pinch of soda, and rancid butter have been added. When drinking the tea, you can blow the scum (from the butter) away from the edge of the cup and sip. Some Tibetans add “tsu” and flour to their tea (in much the same way as we add milk and sugar). Tsu is a mixture of hardened cheese, butter, and sugar. When you sip the tea, your host will refill your cup as it should always remain full. We now move on from one drink to another:


Hot Chocolate

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Fascinating Fact: The ancient Mayans made truly hot chocolate – they added chilies and corn to it!

The first records of chocolate being used for drinking come from residue found in ancient Mayan pots – it dates back to the 5th century AD. The drink was made by pounding chocolate beans in to a paste which was then mixed with water, chili peppers, cornmeal, and assorted spices. The drink was then poured back and forth between a cup and a pot, which gave it a foamy head. This was drunk cold, and people of all classes drank it regularly. The drink tasted spicy and bitter, unlike today’s hot chocolate. When Chocolate finally reached the west, it was very expensive, costing between $50 – $70 per pound in equivalent modern US dollars. If you ever get to Paris, be sure to visit Angelina for the best hot chocolate in the world – try the Chocolat l’Africain (pictured above – recipe below).

Combine 3/4 cup whole milk, 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar and heat over med-high till bubbles appear around edges. Remove from heat and add 4 oz of the best bittersweet chocolate (72%) you can find (chopped). Stir till melted (you may need to return it to low heat). Serve with whipped cream.


Mysterious History of Donuts


Fascinating Fact: No one really knows when donuts were invented or who invented them.

Donuts (doughnuts in UK English), were originally made as a long twist of dough – not in the ring form that is most common these days. It was also common in England for donuts to be made in a ball shape and injected with Jam after they were cooked – this is still very common. Both methods of cooking involve no human intervention as the ball and twist will turn itself over when the underside is cooked. The ring donut common to America just seemed to appear – but one Hansen Gregory, an American, claimed to have invented it in 1847 when he was traveling on a steam boat; he was not satisfied with the texture of the center of the donut so he pressed a hole in the center with the ship’s pepper box.


Apple, Potato, or Onion?


Fascinating Fact: Apples, potatoes, and onions all taste the same when eaten with your nose plugged.

As a child we had a science class in which we were blindfolded, had our noses plugged, and given an apple or onion to eat – we were not told which of the two we would be given. Not one person was able to state which was which. This shows the incredibly important part that the nose plays in the sense of taste. The fact that the three items have a similar consistency makes it virtually impossible to tell them apart without the sense of smell. If you try this, I should warn you: once you unblock your nose, you can tell what you have just eaten.


Floating Eggs

Eggs 0

Fascinating Fact: When an egg floats in water, it is “off” and should not be eaten.

As eggs age, gases build up inside the shell making it more buoyant. This is the best way to test whether an egg has gone rotten without having to break open the shell, risking the foul odor escaping. When an egg is extremely fresh it will lie on its side at the bottom of a glass of water. As it ages, the egg will begin to point upwards, and will finally float completely when it has gone bad. Fresh eggs have a very firm white, whilst old eggs have a very watery white. This is why it is best to use the freshest eggs possible for poaching and frying. Older eggs are perfectly good for omelets or scrambling.


Vanilla Junkie


Fascinating Fact: The consumption of natural vanilla causes the body to release catecholamines (including adrenalin) – for this reason it is considered to be mildly addictive.

When vanilla plants were first exported from Mexico to other tropical climes, they flowered but wouldn’t produce vanilla pods. It was discovered that a bee native to Mexico was the only creature that could pollinate vanilla flowers (vanilla comes from a special species of orchid). Attempts to move the bee to other countries failed and it was not until a slave boy discovered a method of artificial pollination that Mexico lost its monopoly on vanilla. As well as being mildly addictive, vanilla has also been found to block bacterial infections.


Banana Trees

796Px-Inside A Wild-Type Banana

Fascinating Fact: Banana trees are not actually trees – they are giant herbs.

The large stem that is mistaken for a trunk on a banana tree is actually a “pseudostem” meaning “fake stem”. Each pseudostem provides a single bunch of yellow, green, or red bananas. This then dies and is replaced by another pseudostem. Smaller bunches of bananas (such as the ones we buy in shops) are actually called “hands” – not “bunches” which can weigh up to 50 kilograms. The bananas that we eat are specially cultivated to exclude seeds – therefore you can’t plant a banana tree from a commercially grown banana. Wild bananas have many large hard seeds (pictured above).


Brain Freeze

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Fascinating Fact: The term “brain freeze” was invented by 7-11 to explain the pain one feels when drinking a slurpee too fast.

Believe it or not, there is a real scientific name for “brain freeze” – it is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia (try saying that 5 times fast!) When something very cold (usually ice cream) touches the top palate of the mouth, it causes the blood vessels to constrict. This makes the nerves send a signal to the brain to re-open them. The rapid re-opening of the vessels causes a build up of fluid in the tissues causing a slight swelling in the forehead and, therefore, causing pain. It normally takes 30 – 60 seconds for the fluid to drain, relieving the pain.


Ancient Sauce


Fascinating Fact: Ketchup was originally a fish sauce originating in the orient.

Two words from the Fujian region of China were used to describe a fish brine / sauce and a tomato sauce – both words bear a striking resemblance in sound to the word “ketchup”; the words are: ke-tsap and kio-chiap. Early western ketchups were made with fish and spices, or mushrooms. In fact, mushroom ketchup is still available in the United Kingdom and it is prized by some modern chefs for its natural inclusion of monosodium glutamate – the only substance known to stimulate the 5th human taste sense umami (savoury).


Feel Good With 7-Up

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Fascinating Fact: 7-Up – invented in 1920 contained Lithium – the drug commonly prescribed now to sufferers of bi-polar disorder.

The drink was originally marketed as a hangover cure – due to the inclusion of lithium citrate. It was released just a few years before the Wall Street crash of the 1920s and it was marketed under the name “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda” – quite a mouthful! The name was changed to 7-Up shortly after its release but lithium remained one of the ingredients until 1950. Some popular myths surround the name of the drink – but the name is most likely due to the original recipe containing 7 ingredients (with the “up” portion relating to the lithium) or the fact that lithium has an atomic mass of 7.

Contributor: JFrater

Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • Naysayer

    The claim that Tibetans drink 50 to 60 cups a day is a lie. It is an impossibility. A cup is equal to 240ml which is roughly 12 litres. (I'm a pommie don't correct my spelling) 12 litres is an impossible amount to consume in 1 day, let alone consistently over long periods of time, without developing water retention or water poisoning.

    Also taste and smell aren't as closely associated as most people believe. They serve different purposes (i.e. detecting poisons and discerning scents) that have no confliction or interaction. The taste buds are highly receptive and most tastes are derived from them.

    • Steve

      Emma – yes you can make them a short while in adnvace and then bake as and when x

  • Gormlet

    I'm pretty sure Lithium has an atomic mass of 3, whereas Nitrogen has an atomic mass of 7.

    • Makoto

      Umami – Being in the now in the enpcriexee of the food at it’s perfection.Or as Gluten Free Girl likes to say, “Joy In The Belly”.Thanks great blog.

    • idiot

      this has to be the dumbest thing one can say.
      before leaving a comment try a simple google search on atomic mass?

  • iloshky

    Cool list — can’t wait to test out #6 …

  • foohy

    I have a hard time believing #7 is true…I’ll try an apple and a potato but I’ll never eat a mouth full of onion again. It gave me a headache for days!! Great list though.

  • Saruka

    Butter tea! Oh god! I felt sick reading it.

  • bbo

    Cool list — can’t wait to test out #6 …

  • Kyran Wray

    Man that was one interesting list! i get smarter everyday reading this site :)

  • Mendacity

    I’m very interested to try the potato-onion thing.

  • Colinius Romul

    very nice! liked this one a lot!

  • Zedroz

    Now i’m curious,
    How could you not tell the difference between an onion and apple in your mouth?
    An onions texture is mildly rubbery and also when chewing it you would surely be able to tell when you separate layers of it.
    Technically your are using the sense of touch to determine what you have just eaten but even so…
    On the other hand im sure not going to test out the theory :-D .
    Great list

  • GTT

    I love these lists! I´m definately going to drown every egg I eat from now on. and the hot chocolate thing was just cruel. Now I have a barely resistable urge to think a big-ol-cupful of that goodness (possibly with a vanilla donut…)!

    • Steve

      Why, how many rotten eggs have you cracked open. I eat way more eggs than I probably should and I have yet to get a bad one

  • joanne

    in #7 it is our sense of smell which plays a big part in our sense of taste. in fact we can also say that our sense of taste plays a big part in our sense of smell because some (unfortunately i have forgotten the source(s) from which i read this) have suggested that smell and taste be classified as one sense or chemical receptor because both are for detecting chemicals in the mouth or nose, and that smell evolved to supplement taste by enabling an organism to determine which things are safe or unsafe to eat without direct contact with potentially dangerous chemicals.

  • astraya

    Number 9: “If you ever get to Paris, be sure to visit Angelina …”. Where does she live?

  • Ash

    Hahah this was cool
    I’ll have to try the apples, onions and potatoes thing

    And the hot chocolate made me drool…

  • Jenny

    That fish sauce is called “garum” in the ancient world. I excavated a Roman pot containing the fish bones used to make the sauce. The would leave the fish out to rot, then mash it up into a sauce that went on just about everything and was traded from Iraq to France.

  • Nope

    nice. Im going to go eat some onions!

  • Jessy

    Vanilla’s a drug? That explains alot….

    Not shocked at all by 7-Up. All the big name sodas were using drugs in their recipes….

  • ZedroZ

    @ #11
    I’m sorry astraya i’m not sure what you mean, im fairly sure that the number on the list regarding Paris refers to “hot chocolate” and neither onions or apples. please elaborate though as I find this kind of list fascinating :-)

  • jahblum

    Nice list

  • Saruka

    Oh, about the potato-onion thing.

    I remember seeing on telly how people couldn’t tell tea from coffee when blindfolded and cotton up their nose.

    Some fancy pants tea dude who who can classify tea in various categories by aroma couldn’t tell the most expensive tea in the world from coffee machine coffee.

  • Saruka

    … they said tea is essentially a smell. It doesn’t have taste.

  • Wally

    Ahh Zedroz… I can understand your confusion. Astraya is referring to list item number 9 about Angelinas Hot Chocolate – not your research in Comment Number 9.

  • Mortivore

    I would like to try that Mayan hot chocolate someday. That’d be pretty awesome.

    And maybe we don’t know exactly who invented the doughnut, but I’m pretty sure they were a genius.

  • warrrreagl

    Floating eggs and Brain freeze were the only ones I already knew. Great list, and one that will be pilfered quite a bit in upcoming e-mails!

  • SoCalJeff

    Butter Tea. Sounds like something Homer Simpson would drink.

  • ligeia

    I’d heard of butter tea before, ewww, nasty!! I also heard that banana plants can actually walk. Not like a human/animal, obviously, but that the plants move very slowly.

  • png

    i don’t know what’s up with people saying ke-tsiap means fish sauce. In cantonese, the ‘ke’ is half of ‘fan ke’ meaning tomato. So ke-tsiap means tomato sauce.

  • Brithombar

    I like the pic of Spock. His Vulcan physiology is no match for that slurpee.

  • lily

    gr8 list n i luv donuts and crazily enough i think donuts might have an afghani connection. My mom was UN volunteer in afghanistan during the 80s and she said the villagers had something very similar to a donut made out of sweet dough.

  • Callie

    Ha! I was on a date on Saturday and we were talking about where words come from (yeah, I’m super fun to date) and he wouldn’t believe that ketchup was Chinese. I’m sending this to him.

    I’ve had chocolate with hot peppers before..It’s actually a pretty good mix.

  • Posy

    Interesting fact. When I was growing up in Northern Ireland we didn’t call doughnuts by that name. We knew them as gravy rings. No idea why they were called that, though you don’t hear the term so much now.

  • Jackie

    Ok can someone explain the “umami” 5th taste sense to me. I keep reading about it like it was “discovered” recently or whatever. How do we know what “stimulates” it? What studies confirm it as a 5th taste sense? Because honestly it sounds like someone one day said “ooh ooh savory is another type of flavor like bitter and sweet…let’s add that one!”
    I tried researching it but didn’t find much and I feel lost on the subject….

  • Jackie

    Gormlet: You’re close…Lithium has an atomic NUMBER of 3. It has an atomic mass of 7 (or 6.9 to be exact). I didn’t know it either but I felt like looking it up lol….

  • guy

    coool. these are my favorite types of lists on this site.

  • Regular Reader

    #7 isn’t true, so it would probably be best not to try it. Yes, smell plays a major role in taste, but not all smell enters through the nostrils. Smells also travel to the nose through the back of the mouth, and continue to emanate from the throat after swallowing.

    So people who claim to have done the above experiment and couldn’t tell the difference either have a very poor sense of taste, or are just saying so because they thought the concept was cool. And this is just focusing on the smell aspect, let alone the consistency mentioned above, and other differences.

  • robneiderman

    There’s a description of the evolution of ketchup in a surprisingly interesting book called Salt, by Mark Kurlansky. He compares ketchup to garum, the nearly-rotten fish paste the Romans enjoyed. As a ketchup lover, I’m really glad mine doesn’t have bad fish or mushrooms in it.
    @31 Jackie:
    No one has ever been able to describe umami to me, either. I realize that taste isn’t an easy thing to put into words (kind of like color), but you can describe a taste using relateable flavors. For example: sweet tastes like sugar, sour tastes like lemons. Someone please tell me what umami tastes like (or what tastes umami)!

  • Paceman90

    I have to disagree with 7-11 creating the term brain-freeze. Well, at least they did come up with that term. But there was a show that aired in the early 90’s called Camp Wilder. It was on the ABC TGIF lineup and starred Jay Mohr. In one episode he was drinking a slurpee and then let out a scream yelling, “AHH! Slurpee Freezebrain!” I believe this was the first reference to the phenomenon.

  • smurff

    Nice list – I like these – I might put one together about Africa and their lifestyle – food – drink etc. There are so many to choose from here, I will submit it for approval and lets see what happens. To get the back up photos might take a bit longer, a lot of my literature does not support photos.

    I have enjoyed this site so much for so long – maybe its pay back time.

  • Cyn

    smurff –
    excellent idea! think J might be able to help out w/ the photos, as he does w/ most lists.
    actually anyone submitting lists based on existing lists but w/ a more regional or personal flavor is a good idea in general.
    and i do so like this concept of it being a kinda of “payback” to the site. it would be a good way to support LV.
    thank you.

  • Jackie

    robneiderman @36: yeah but…it’s not what does it taste like that I’m wondering…it’s more like how did that come to be the official “5th taste”, how do we know there are tastebuds that taste for that like ones that taste for salty, sweet, bitter, etc. haha I don’t know if I’m making any sense…

  • YogiBarrister

    Jackie #31, Umami could be described as meaty. It’s more of texture than a taste, your tongue’s way of responding to protein. One of my ambitions in life is to open a chain of vegetarian barbecues. If I hope to sell such a product, umami, is as important as the other four taste sensations. Marinated and grilled portabella mushrooms are like steak to vegetarians, that’s umani.

  • smurff

    Thanks Cyn it will not be a overnight thing a week or two, thanks for the reply.

  • I believe that donuts are natural formations as recent theories have suggested–that the overall shape of the universe is in fact “donut shapped”. Which came first, The donut or the donut hole? ….And some data findings have indicated that “donut planets” exist with “a glaze-like atmosphere, and “sprinkle-like satellites” oribiting in random confussion”.

    -And apparently the “soul” is like an onion. There are early occult references to this and, yeh–the soul tastes like apples.

    just foolin.

    sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia- cool. I must remember this next time.

  • Jackie

    YogiBarrister: Ok that actually explains it a little bit..thanks!

  • DK

    Yogi (41)-good description! I was going to say that umami tastes like mushrooms, but the way you describe it I think is better.

  • w_boodle

    Naysayer said:
    The claim that Tibetans drink 50 to 60 cups a day is a lie. It is an impossibility. A cup is equal to 240ml which is roughly 12 litres. (I’m a pommie don’t correct my spelling) 12 litres is an impossible amount to consume in 1 day, let alone consistently over long periods of time, without developing water retention or water poisoning.

    Perhaps Tibetan cups are smaller than the measure we describe as a cup i.e. 240ml (US)or 8 ounces. I have a Chinese tea set and the cups — when filled to the brim – hold 120ml or 4 ounces. That cuts your complaint by half.

    But one never fills these cups to the brim with scalding hot liquid. So 89ml (US) or 3 ounces per cup is a more likely consumption rate. If we say the Tibetans are drinking 55 “cups” of this measure per day then their consumption is only 4880ml per days or 165 ounces.

    Additionally water isn’t the only thing going into those cups. Some of the volume is filled less moisture-intensive substance such as butter, cheese, flour, sugar and salt.

    The Tibetans live in a very cold and arid climate. I’ll bet they need all the hydration they can get.

  • w_boodle

    Oh and I loved this list. It had me searching for more info on almost every entry — especially the 5th human taste sense umami. Wikipedia has a very interesting article on it.

    Thanks for all the time and work you put into this list!

  • thisislame

    “Fascinating Fact: Apples, potatoes, and onions all taste the same when eaten with your nose plugged.” for one, is very not true.and when your list has ONE thing makes the rest not very creditable. fail list is fail

  • Cyn

    smurff –
    and anyone at any time is more than welcome to submit lists for consideration of publication. see the navbar above for the link to the submission page.
    i really do like the idea of more regionalized lists..especially from places other than the US.
    LV does reach a global audience…so i’d not be afraid to submit lists that anyone thought..’oh, this is just too local’.. i’m sure there are lotsa me!..that would love to read lists more specific to particular regions of the world. or even narrower in scope… ‘top 10 whachmacallits of the whereeveritis locality/genre/niche’…

  • Directorxian

    Great List! A simple trick for getting rid of those brain freezes. When you feel one coming on, just rub your tongue on the roof of your mouth. This warms up the nerve, and slows the freezing process.

  • Miss Destiny

    This is an awesome list! I love the random facts lists. I’ve never heard of the potato/onion/apple thing, and quite frankly, I don’t buy the onion part. Potatoes and apples, maybe, but definitely not an onion.

    It makes me want to make a food list. :)

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  • Hollis

    Fascinating list!!! That’s so funny about ketchup!

    Also, thanks for the amazing hot chocolate recipe! ;-)

  • Blitzen

    I have heard umami described as the flavour of “deliciousness”.Most of us encounter this in the form of MSG, which is added to oriental cuisine to enhance the taste.

  • Brickhouse

    I like the info about 7-Up! We know the colas were touted as cures, it’s nice to know the lighter sodas were drugged up, too. :)

    And I believe the onion bit – people can be hypnotized to eat an onion and believe they are eating an apple. Go ahead and try it!

  • Cedestra

    41. YogiBarrister: Mushrooms, and if you get it right, seitan. My work always has vegetarian food and sometimes they serve braised seitan with mushrooms and green beans. It’s to die for. One of those moments that I don’t regret giving up meat. Tofu does to a very mild extent; tempeh is right out.
    48. thisislame: “fail list is fail” for one, is very not grammatically correct, but also a double-negative, meaning that this list is actually successful? Idiot…

  • Brandon5am

    I absolutely reccomend adding a dash of cayenne pepper to any hot chocolate… its amazing and really brings out the flavor of the chocolate.

  • JayArr

    thisislame(48) Having just one inaccuracy does not mean an entire list is suddenly a ‘fail’… sheesh. That said, insofar as the testing goes on the apples, potatoes and onions – puree them all, to get rid of the texture dead-give-away. This will help with the test’s accuracy. As for taste w/o smell factor, I am suspicious of the results, though am interested in perhaps trying it out some day. :-)

  • Jackie (31): try the Wikipedia article on Umami – it is very interesting. It is the taste sense that MSG stimulates.

  • robneiderman: Umami tastes like monosodium glutamate :) See my previous comment.

  • Okay – I just want to reiterate that the apple/onion thing is real. I have tried it and you can’t tell the difference. Granted, this is from a kids show, but here it is on youtube.

    So thisislame (48): it appears it is you who fails.

  • YogiBarrister

    This comment is just a theory of mine about umami, take it with a few grains of MSG. The purpose of the fifth receptor is to stimulate our saliva glands to produce an enzyme that breaks down proteins. That enzyme is similar to MSG in its effect.

  • tw

    Doughnuts are not a mystery. Just about every grain growing culture in the world has a fried dough food, some savory some sweet. The modern high calories recipe needs the center hole for even cooking otherwise you get an undercooked glob in the middle or overcooked edges.

  • anOkaZz

    I’m from Portugal and ever since I was a kid I learned that you should put the eggs in water to see if they sink or not. If they don’t then you should not eat them. It’s a very common practise over here and it actually surprised me to see that as a “fascinating” fact!
    Nice list!! Wanna try that apple/onion/potatoe thing!!

  • Eh

    Onions, apples , and potatos taste nothing alike. You shouldn’t state things as “facts” when they arn’t true for EVERYONE. I’ve tried it and just a small taste of an onion makes me spit it out, even with my nose AND eyes closed. Really, don’t state things as facts when they arn’t facts. It may be true for a lot of people,but it would only be a fact if it was true for everyone. I was also able to tell which was the apple, due to it being more moist. Maybe this only works on children whom havn’t really developed their taste senses fully, but it hasn’t worked on anyone in my family.

  • Bahar

    #7 is kinda Strange. Because my mother can’t smell at all, but her taste sense is perfect…

  • Katie

    The original name of 7 up also contains seven syllables… maybe that had something to do with it too!

    • amanda

      no it doesnt, it has seven letters if spelled out, but 3 syllables

  • mollym

    hmm… i think it depends on the person for the apple/potatoe/onion thing because i just tried it and you could definetly tell the defference between them. The apple had a very sweet taste, the potato didnt taste like anything and the onion was very bitter and strong tasting. I mean you dont do all your tasting with your smell, apple and onions are both very different in sweet/bitter contrast, which you taste with you tongue so i dont see how this would have made sense in the first place.

  • astraya

    ZedroZ (comment 15): Sorry for the confusion. As Wally (comment 19) explained, my comment was about list item 9 and not comment 9.

    I read about the apple/potato (but not onion) thing way back, but have never tried it. At my previous language school, I often ended each 2-month term with a discussion on memorable sights/sounds/tastes/smells/physical touches and emotional feelings. I often commented how these are inter-related eg smelling perfume can give you an emotional feeling. If there was time left over at the end of the lesson, I’d ask students which of the senses they would give up if they absolutely had to. Almost all of the them said smell. I dropped this factoid about smell and taste being inter-related.

  • Joey11y

    Yum that hot chocolate recipe looks delicious! I’m definatly going to make that when the weather starts getting colder in my part of the world. Great list BTW, I love food facts!

  • DK

    In regards to those picking on “Thisilame” about his use of “fail list is fail,” This phrasing has become somewhat of an internet meme, at least I find it common in the gaming forums. Other examples of this would be “Obvious man is obvious” or “Redundant guy is redundant”.

    Just a bit of random extra info:)

  • grungefreak10

    I read about the onion/apple/potato deal when I was a kid. I wouldn’t do it now though, because onions make your breath reek for hours.

  • Boostermoose

    I’m anosmic, meaning I have no sense of smell. And potatoes, apples and onions all taste very different to me. Whats interesting is I do like eating raw potatoes and all my friends think I’m weird for it.

  • JAB

    I like this one better than the last Food Fact list. Corn and Chillies in hot chocolate… Who’d have thought.

    The picture for number 3 is HILARIOUS, by the way.

  • bigski

    Wont rancid butter do bad things to your intestinal tract ? Gotta try hot chocolate recipe. A evil genius invented donuts a pox on ye. Fry onions and potato`s together in a little oil and make an apple pie AND GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE! Eggs that float in water are bad.I did not know that. I always wondered why I like vanilla better than chocolate.The thing about the big banana seeds was cool.I wonder what they taste like ? Is Dr.Spock listening to rap music on #3 ? Hmm ketchup with rotten fish juice yummy.The reason kid`s like ketchup so much is because it has more sugar per serving than most soft drinks . Sounds like some of the commenter`s could use a little old time 7 up with lithium in it including me ! Very interesting list Mr J F

  • Precision

    Excellent list, very interesting reading. I already knew about the hot chocolate and eggs, and the sauce, banana trees and 7-up didn’t really surprise me all that much.

    Is it just me or does the Tibetan tea actually sound pretty good? Not quite as good as a hot chilli chocolate but I’d definitely like to give it a try.

    I’ll be in Paris next year for a bit so I’ll have to look up Angelina while I’m there too.

  • DK

    Oh! For the hot chocolate, there is a company that makes organic chocolate products, and they have a hot chocolate with chilies & cinnamon that’s just delish! Actually, I find it a little too spicy, so I mix it about half with a plain hot chocolate mix most of the time.
    Here’s a link:

  • Teapixie

    I could really go a hot choccie and a banana right about now.
    I remember we did the apple/onion/potato experiment at high school and it really works.

    And I have to use the technical term for ‘brain freeze’ on the kids at school. That’ll keep ’em guessing for days!

  • So. The largest truffle in the world just sold, to some rich dummy , for 200thousand USD. I think it was a little more than 2lbs. Now I have seen pictures and tee-vee footage of this truffle, and it is one ugly fungi to behold– but It seems that a year ago around this time a guy named Stanley Ho paid $330,000 for his WORLD’S BIGGEST TRUFFLE, which weighed in at a whopping 3.9lbs. Now there’s all different kinds of truffles and what I figure is that the craze for the grandeur of owning the GREATEST TRUFFLE must have something to do with elitist mentality….or are they getting more for their buck? Couldn’t one just buy a bunch of tiny truffles for less? I mean, it doesn’t take much if used for consumption. Unless the oweners of HUGE TRUFFLES simply put them in a display case (ala a “Grand Hall of Truffles” perhaps with a little velvet curtain and brass plaque on each) .Do you think these guys are having super lavesh suppers where guests pay top dollar a plate to dine on a sliver of THE TRUFFLE? —So that a profit is garnered? If so, how long could one slice away at a 200thousand dollar truffle before time to close shop?Maybe not such the dummy, if this were so.

    Slivers of A.Einstein’s brain.
    One day the slivers will have slivers.

  • Blogball

    Really neat list! I enjoyed it a lot. Great picture by the way for # 3. I Think it would be a good one for “caption fun”

  • So. this guy, Stanley Ho. You bought last years BIGEST TRUFFLE and Stanley Ho…You have just bought this years BIGEST TRUFFLE.

    It seems that draught has brought Italy to the stage as large White Truffle carriers.

  • Great list the potato onion apple thing was very interestingi think i might try it.

  • biggest

  • drought

  • Jackit

    I knew about the ketchup one! In chinese it’s literally ke (tomato) -tsup (sauce). In fairness, I never did believe my mom when she told me it’s was an asian thing until I read it just now.

    The apple – onion – potato thing cant be right because those items have different textures! But I could believe it if you found an onion with a very soft and un-layery texture.

  • Stanley Ho’s Fungi
    Albert Einstein’s Brain
    Tulip Bulbs
    John Wilkes Booth’s corpse
    Stealing coins from Trevi Fountain

    good idea for a list would be “Great or Strange Appetites by Well Known People”
    some appetites, of the music world, i remember:
    Glenn Gould only ate once a day in the early hours. At the end of his life, the meal seemed to routinely be scrambled eggs and OJ with the occasional steak.
    It was once brought to Charles Mingus’s (a great eater) attention that he had never seen T.Monk eat anything. This was rather baffeling to Ming.
    Elvis and his bannana/peanut butter sandwiches(which may have been topped with bacon ,eggs, a couple of sticks of butter, and a live chicken)

  • flibbertigibbet

    For the people saying the onion/apple/potato thing doesn’t work, and that the people who think it does work are either lying or don’t have sufficient taste buds, may I please say: In my experience, it does actually work, and I’m a little insulted by the accusation. If it doesn’t work for you, it is possible you are not holding your nose properly, or regarding #72, that there are other things at work that are not fully covered by the experiment. If you are interested, it actually works for most any similarly textured foods, provided they do not contain spices that can be felt (spicy foods). Try it with jelly beans, or crisps, or coffee and tea, or whatever. It is also useful information if you have to consume something unpleasant (I always plug my nose if I have to take cough syrup, then chase it with a cup of water- it would make me gag otherwise).

    Regarding the HOT Hot chocolate: Hershey’s make a drinking cocoa called Cacao Reserve in two styles: Aztec and Mayan. I believe the Mayan one is supposed to be spicy, though I don’t remember being terribly impressed. It was buying a box of it, however, that inspired me to add cayenne to my cocoa from time to time, so I thought I’d put my hand up as recommending it.

  • geeky steev

    Actually Lithium Li has an Atomic number (interchangeable with Atomic mass)of 3, and a Molar mass of 6.941 g/mol (grams per mole). The name 7Up actually comes from the fact that one bottle contained 1 mol (~7g) of Lithium!

    Atomic mass is in fact a dimensionless unit used to catagorize the size of an atom relative to Hydrogen (H Atomic number of 1).

    Check for more information on periodicity!

  • geekysteev

    Actually the 7 Up one is a little bit off. The atomic mass of Lithium (Li) is in fact 3. Atomic mass is a dimensionless unit used to determine atomic size relative to Hydrogen (H) which is arbitrarily assigned 1. However, 7 Up is called 7 up because exactly 1mol (mole) of Lithium was used in one bottle. The Molar Mass / Molar weight (two interchangeable terms) of Li is 6.941g/mol (grams per mole). So really there used to be 7 grams of Lithium for each bottle of 7 Up!

    Slight correction. Otherwise great article. I must agree with Jackit on the onion, potato, apple one…

  • Juliet

    Interesting list. I had heard about the early Mayan cacao fascination, also the Himalayan ghee (butter) tea and the general wisdom (internationally speaking) of avoiding floating eggs, but some of the others were truly eye-openers.

    Don’t know if I’ll ever to ask for 7-up ever again without thinking of its early Lithium “UP”-laced origins. Have to say though that even if blindfolded, I’m pretty sure I could tell the differences between apple, onion or potato. The secret would be in the examination of texture. Onion, with its crunchy, distinctive layers could never be confused with apple – infinitely softer, sweeter, pulpy, and easily squished to the palate. Unlike raw potato, which just crunches differently. It’s of an altogether different texture.
    Must try this bizarre test over the weekend. :)

  • orenj21

    #7 is cool, ill use it for a science experiment for my class

  • onions and donuts:
    The Social Penetration Theory
    Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe

  • ??

    If the cup of butter tea is refilled after every drink, I dont see anyone finishing one cup, much less 50…. unless you are with a really bad host :P

  • Mom424

    And I thought nothing could be worse than drinking hot tea-flavoured rancid butter. But then we add a mixture of hardened cheese, sugar, and more rancid butter.

    Those crazy Tibetan’s cultivate opium poppies? or do they chew Khat? because whoever thought up that combo had to be stoned on something.

  • kiki

    wow! now in school we study lithium as a drug. its normal value is 0.5 to 1.5 mg/dl

  • aj12

    Another interesting thing about 7-UP that I remember reading was that the creator was an albino. The red circle or dot on the can represents an albino’s eye.

  • ChicagoChef

    I kinda wish 7-up still had lithium. Actually, almost as much as I wish Coca-Cola still had cocaine… Just kidding. Or am I?

  • samsung

    geekysteev #87/88
    Sorry but your wrong (partly). Atomic mass is not interchangeable with atomic number.
    – Atomic number is the number of protons in an atom
    – Atomic mass is (roughly) the number of nucleons in an atom (number of protons plus number of nucleons), which is a similar quantity to molar mass which you discussed.

    You were right in saying 1 mol of Lithium ways 7g though

    Jfrater’s list and Jackie’s comment were both correct as was was the source you cited. I don’t know where you got your information from.

  • samsung

    forgot to mention, awesome list. that hot chocolate looks heavenly.

  • sugen

    nice list.knew some already

  • sgvaibhav

    its a comment for those people who make butter tea,

    and a question for those who drink it,

    omg i cant believe that

    im anxious to try out #7

  • I’m sure vanilla has to be addictive, because ever since I’ve been a little kid I’d rather have vanilla ice cream, vanilla cake, vanilla icing, vanilla *anything* than chocolate anything.
    Re: the onion/apple test. I was also given that test in school and had the exact same results. No one could tell the difference *AT ALL* without visual and odor cues.
    As to the rest, Jamie, I’ve read pretty much the same things as you, I believe you are spot on.
    Great list.

  • BooRadley

    This is a question (quite off topic, I’m afraid…) for any British or Australian listers.

    #28 Naysayer used the term “pommie.”

    On a birding expidition in Namibia, our blustery British leader was being teased unmercifully by a delightful Aussie and her friend. He turned around and said, “Whinging pomes!” which caused both of them to burst into raucus laughter. They told the rest of us that pome (sp.?) meant prisoner of mother england. I assumed it was a derogatory British term for an Aussie, as Australia used to be a penal colony for the UK. I have tried several times to look it up, but most sites said it referred to a British person. This doesn’t make sense to me.

    Can anyone give me the real meaning and how the term came about? Thanks!

  • tami

    @72 Boostermoose – i love raw potatoes!! my friends all think i’m crazy too, especially after they try a bite. i always assumed it because i’d developed a taste for it during childhood.. but perhaps that’s not the case. i do have a sense of smell though.

    also, in regards to the apple, potato, onion thing, i bet you could add jicama to the mix too. to me, jicama tastes like an apple/potato baby. :)

  • Boostermoose

    I did try the onion, potato, and apple thing last night. True to the general consensus so far, you can tell the difference primarily based on texture, moisture, crunchiness, etc. In this original experiment I wonder if people are supposed to chew or just lick/suck. Because raw onions will release chemicals that the pain receptors on taste buds will react to, just like peppers. This is very interesting seeing as I can’t smell. Its also possible that I’m more aware of my sense of taste than people who can smell. I think I will try an experiment with different teas tonight.

  • southerngent

    Krispy-Kreme oh, oh, oh, the do-nuts – so warm, so fresh, so melt in your mouth. So bad for you, but oh so tasty and delicious. I don’t know if they are available in other places (I’m in the SE USA) but they are orgasmic when directly out of the oven!

  • badabing

    If you eat enough beets you pee red. If you eat enough asparagus it smells. Are these fact or fiction?

  • Jim Jones

    Hey, works for me!

  • Helena

    I knew almost all of these…and the ones I didn’t know are actually not fascinating. Disappointment.

  • Helena

    @ 102:
    No idea, but I sure like your “Mockingbird” reference.

  • KT

    I’ve had Tibetan tea and you are right on about the ingredients…as well as right about the fact that your hosts will never let your cup go dry. You may as well nurse that cup of rancid butter tea.

  • Speaker-to-Animals

    Re: #2, your description of umami as the 5th taste is inaccurate — it would be #6. The other 5 are sweet, sour, bitter, salt, and … metal.

  • BobagemLixo

    If you put egg in vinegar and leave it in for several days the shell will gradually become transparent because the calcium is being dissolved by the vinegar

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  • Blahblah

    “Bib-Label Lithiated” has 7 syllables, so perhaps “7-up Lemon-Lime Soda” was easier. Doesn’t explain why “up” stands for lithium, unless being “up” means feeling better. Or, as marketers like to do, play around with lithium’s “L,” turn it upside down: 7, upside down or 7-up. Simple explanations are attractive, even if wrong… ;-)

  • Wasabigal

    For #10, it’s actually “dri butter” and not yak butter;
    the butter comes from female yaks, which are called dri.
    I was in Tibet a few years back, and lots of people make that mistake.

  • Blahblah

    Beets — yep, red pee. One of our houseguests was so afraid we took him to the hospital — everything checked out fine; they were perplexed until they asked if he’d eaten any beets…

    Krispy Kreme opened in the West (CA, NV), instantly popular, but the obesity epidemic has slowed its growth. Come to SF for Beard Papa’s creme-filled puff pastries! Can ONLY eat fresh.

    Rancid tea sounds better than rancid soybean paste, aka Japanese natto. I won’t mention the premium tea that is the product of the digestive system of cats. Oops…! Won’t knowingly try that. Of course it’s rancid moldy cream that gives us tasty cheese. So embrace the rancid side of life!

    thisislame — by your impossible standards no one is credible. Skepticism is a healthy character trait, but guilt by association is just laziness. Ideas should be judged on their individual merit not solely by their source.

  • mr.druid

    Thanks for the floating egg bit. I never understood why some eggs sink and some eggs stand up like a Weeble. Now I know when eggs go bad.

  • JayArr

    Hey, 92… I can’t spell your name!!! As for the question of the number of cups of tea… all I can say is, I’ve gone pee 5 times in the last 3 hours, and my cup’s still 3/4 full. How many cups does that approximate? :-)

  • I wouldn’t know a krispy kreme from a dunkin donut. I can’t eat doughnuts. More accurately, I can eat them, I can’t digest them so I don’t eat them. I can’t digest anything which has been fried.
    I’m sure I’m missing out on a lot of tasty treats, but my digestive system is a complete mess, so I have to treat it with kid gloves.
    Eh! So what? I’m sure the lack of a few doughnuts won’t kill me.

  • loop

    Another great and interesting list. I especially liked the technical term for #3. This is the sort of “dreaded condition” one can use when calling in sick to work when all you really need is a day off! (Another good one, “tarsal neuropraxia”, which basically means that your foot is asleep! Hmmm. I’m seeing an idea for a future list!!!!

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  • sir

    because i am a bit of a geek, i knew most of these, even the banana facts, but i had never seen a pic of the seeded fruit…thanks for that!
    i think anyone who raises chickens knows the floating egg trick…it has saved me from wasting many a cookie or cake recipe!!

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  • GTT

    @ segue (118): Believe me, fried foods are EVIL! They are the culprits behind my barely fitting wedding-dress dilema!!! ;)

  • Morgana

    Very interesting article.

  • 121. GTT: Congratulations! When is the big day?

  • Mattress

    Great article, I really love this!

  • Angry onliner

    this list is Awesome!!! and intresting

  • astraya

    My grandfather used to ceremoniously remove the “bones” from bananas before eating the rest. Running down the middle is a line of what look like very small seeds. If these aren’t seeds, what are they?

  • scottrodo

    Great list….I have one question though. What lengths of desperation led someone to decide that tea mixed with rancid yak butter was their last resort for nourishment before death by starvation? Further, how gullible did others in the village have to be to believe the guy who came up with the foul sounding brew when he told them it “tastes great”?

  • XxXImagineXxX

    hmmm….ke-tsap is in chinese. that’s some info to ‘png’.

    this was an interesting list. butter tea makes me want to hurl

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  • flibbertigibbet

    I just stumbled on this page:

    It’s this exact list, words and everything, from a week or so later. WTF?

  • Drexler

    When you get a brain freeze if you push your tongue up to the top of your mouth it goes away really fast.

    I also like to eat potatoes raw, they are really startchy though..

  • person


  • kathy

    that was nice but not what i was looking for and edward cullen is HOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

  • weegadge

    good list – soft drinks used to be much better eh? lithium and cocaine – brilliant :-)

  • Waz

    On Umami: I’ve heard discussed that some Caviar (especially good Beluga caviar)’stimulates’ our sense of Umami. I wouldn’t know, I can’t afford it :)

  • Julieann

    Awesome list!!! I feel smarter when reading these! :D

  • Fairycake

    We have the doughnuts that are a ball with a jam more often than the ring ones here! (UK) They are much tastier Mmmm.

  • sciencegeek

    I saw that episode of Star Trek!

  • TC

    7 grams of lithium in one bottle would be impossible – it would kill everyone who drank it.

    People highly adapted to lithium take 0.6-1.2 grams per day. 2-3 grams would likely result in lithium intoxication and death for an average person.

  • jonasgirl

    instead of history on the food you should put what affects the person when they eat it cause im doing an assignment and you guys aren’t helping you jackasses

  • mattricks

    While I know some of these facts, this has to be the most interesting list on LV that I’ve come across! Love it! And bugger offm TC and others…who obviously get lithium prescribed. The world would have been fascinating during the early 20th century :P

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  • Andi

    Lol the mystery of the donut maker

  • extremely good learning material.

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  • nerproofe


  • Dalek6450

    I live in Australia and most people call “ketchup” tomato sauce

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  • Thanks, JFrater.

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  • Kool list can’t wait to try them

  • RADS


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  • mrunal

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