Food Facts & Fun

Food Facts is a listing of articles that teaches you how all types of foods, drinks and diets work.

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As the saying goes, there's no use crying over spilled milk. But many of us shed tears over onions. What prompts this weird physiological reaction?

By Cristen Conger

How do beermakers know how much alcohol is in the beer? And what is the difference between percent alcohol by volume and by weight?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Olestra is a synthetic fat used in certain food products. Find out what it's made of and whether it's safe for you.

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I've enjoyed Thousand Island salad dressing for years, and I've always wondered how it got its name. For that matter, how did ranch dressing get its name? Is French dressing really from France? And what is in those dressings?

Maybe you've tried this game of biting down on a wintergreen candy in the dark and looking in the mirror and seeing a spark. Where do those sparks come from?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Ever wondered why a popsicle is called a quiescently frozen confection"? Confused as to what quiescently frozen confection even means? Find out your answers to these questions.

I love decaffeinated coffee, but I've always wondered how they get the caffeine out of a coffee bean. How are coffee, tea and colas decaffeinated?

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When I open a can of Guinness or some of the other upscale beers from Europe, I notice that a plastic ball shaped widget inside the tin releases gas to aerate the beer. How does this work?

Why is it called a "hamburger" when there is no ham in it? Find out the answer to this meat mystery here.

When a food is labeled as Kosher, it means that the food has been prepared in accordance with the rules of food preparation set forth in the old testament of the Bible and formalized in Jewish law.

Ever wanted to know what a Rice Krispy is? Read this article to find out what Rice Krispy is made out of and how they make them.

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You know soda pop isn't the greatest drink to consume, but do you know how much sugar they really put in soft drinks? Find out the answer here.

Whenever I buy salt (or even get it in little packets at a restaurant), it says that it is "iodized". What is "iodized", and why?

You love the taste of it on your flapjacks, but just how do they make maple syrup? Read this article on maple syrup to find out how this deliciously sweet condiment is made.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Ever wonder what chewing gum is made of and why it doesn't dissolve in your mouth? Find out your answers in this article about chewing gum.

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Where do corn oil and corn syrup come from? When I eat corn on the cob, there's not any oil or syrup in it, so where do they get this stuff?

Many of the foods that you buy wrapped in plastic today use what is called modified atmosphere packaging, or MAP. How does this packaging lend to keeping your lettuce fresh? Find out here.

I've got three questions: What is a marshmallow? How do they make marshmallows? And why do they call them "marshmallows"?

What exactly is root beer? Check out this article to learn all about root beer, how it's made, and why it's called "beer" in the first place.

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When I buy milk at the store, the label says "homogenized pasteurized milk." What are homogenization and pasteurization?

You've just sliced a delicious apple and you turn around for minute and its brown! Find out why apples and potatoes turn brown when you slice them and how to keep them from keeping.

People often store water for emergencies, but you might be surprised to find out that water can go bad just like fresh food. How can you store it safely?

Sodium nitrate (NaNO3) and its close relative sodium nitrite (NaNO2) are preservatives that you find in lots of processed meats. Learn why they add these preservatives to food.

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Popcorn certainly is unique, but have you ever wondered how it actually works? Check out this article to learn what makes popcorn pop and more.

You see these commercials like "Got Milk?" and "Milk -- it does a body good," and when I was a kid my mother made me drink a quart of milk a day, and doctors recommend that kids drink lots of milk at school, etc.