Category Archives: Answers

Why Did Yankee Doodle Stick a Feather in His Cap and Call It Macaroni?

James H. asks: Curious question for you, but something I’ve always wondered about. Why did Yankee Doodle call the feather in his hat macaroni? While silly and irreverent, the song “Yankee Doodle” holds a rather patriotic place in many American hearts and is even the official state song of Connecticut. Today, the jingle may bring to mind a proud revolutionary […]

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Inventing Bubble Gum

Gracen A. asks: What is original flavor bubblegum supposed to taste like? Bubblegum, the ambiguously flavoured, obnoxiously pink candy gum that is the favourite treat of Violet Beauregarde and, seemingly, a shocking amount of stock photo actors was first invented in 1928 by an accountant called Walter Diemer. Despite being asked in dozens of interviews throughout his life, Diemer took […]

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Why Are You Not Supposed to Use Twice Boiled Water for Tea?

Jeremy W. asks: Is it true that drinking tea made from twice boiled water is bad for you? There’s a rather persistent idea that “reboiling” water (i.e. boiling water two or more times and allowing it to cool in-between) while making a cup of tea is potentially harmful to your health, with some going so far as stating that regularly […]

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Why Clocks Run Clockwise

Nathan B. asks: Why is the standard to have handed clocks turn clockwise? Pretty much everyone knows that if you’re asked to pass something clockwise around a table, you hand it to the person on your left because that is the same direction that the hands of a clock move. But what you may not know is that this standard […]

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

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). […]

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Is it Safe to Eat Cheese Rinds?

Kerry S. asks: Are you supposed to eat the rind of cheese or just throw it out? Is it safe to eat? Does it depend on the type of cheese?  Thanks! Whether or not you should eat a cheese rind depends entirely on your taste, as even the most unpalatable rinds are in no way poisonous or dangerous to eat. […]

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When Did People First Start Clapping to Show Appreciation?

Mark D. asks: When did we start clapping to show that we like something? Clapping is the near-ubiquitous way we show our appreciation of something, particularly when we’re in large groups. But have you ever wondered why slapping our hands together has come to be so closely associated with approval and where the practise originated from? To begin with, the […]

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