Author Archives: Sarah Stone

Why Teachers are Associated with and Traditionally Given Apples

apple

Gloria N. asks: Why is the stereotype to give apples to teachers? Widespread publicly funded, mandatory education has only been around since about the 19th century. Before then, the responsibility of providing schooling to children fell primarily on their families. Upper- and middle-class families tended to hire tutors or send their children to a private school run by a schoolmaster. […]

Read more

Why Does the Yolk of an Overcooked Hard-Boiled Egg Turn Green?

hard-boiled-egg

Laura K. asks: Why does the yolk of a hard-boiled egg sometimes turn green? The process of hard-boiling an egg involves denaturation. During this process, the amino acid chains found in the proteins in the egg are altered from their original, raw egg state, with the denaturation temperature varying somewhat depending on the specific protein in question (see chart here). […]

Read more

The Truth About the Surprisingly Recent Invention of the Tea Bag, and the Women Who Really Invented It

tea-bags

Mark A. asks: Who invented tea bags? Legend says that brewing tea dates back to around 2737 BC, when tea leaves fell into water being boiled for Emperor Shennong of China. There does not appear to be any hard evidence of tea being discovered this way, but evidence we do have suggests that brewing tea did indeed likely start in […]

Read more

A Christmas Oddity: The Giant Straw Goat in Sweden That People Try to Burn Down Every Year

Yule_goat

In the Swedish town of Gävle, about 100 miles north of Stockholm, residents have been erecting a giant straw goat in the town center since 1966. The Gävle Goat, also known as the Yule Goat and the Gävlebocken, may be a massive Christmas decoration, but there is never any guarantee that it will still be standing for the holiday. That […]

Read more

Why Do Americans Refrigerate Their Eggs and Most Other Countries Don’t?

milk-eggs-and-bread

Matt asks: Why do Americans refrigerate eggs and other countries don’t? How long do eggs last unrefrigerated? In supermarkets across the United States, Australia, and Japan, eggs can be found in the refrigerated section alongside other cold items such as milk and cheese. However, in most other countries of the world, eggs can be found stored at room temperature alongside nonperishable […]

Read more

The Soldier Who Voluntarily Became A Prisoner in Auschwitz

Witold_Pilecki

Nazi troops invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, despite the best efforts of Captain Witold Pilecki and his fellow Polish soldiers. On November 9th of that same year, Witold and Major Wlodarkiewicz founded the Tajna Armia Polska (TAP or Polish Secret Army), an underground organization that eventually became consolidated with other resistance forces into The Home Army. Not long after […]

Read more

Charles Dickens and a Stalker

dickens

For all Charles Dickens knew, his second American tour starting in 1867 might be a trip into hostile territory. His first tour in the country during 1842 left him disillusioned, and his subsequent books American Notes and Martin Chuzzlewit offered stinging criticism of the America he experienced. But he was desperate.  Between his banished wife’s monthly stipend and supporting his […]

Read more
1 2 3 4