Smoothies and salads are all well and good, but some of the best summer foods are anything but all-natural. For those who’d like to know a little more about where their favorite neon-colored candy or frozen drink comes, Gizmodo compiled a guide to the food science behind three of summer’s most ubiquitous treats: Pop Rocks, Magic Shells, and Slurpees/frozen margaritas (lumped into one category).
Pop Rocks were, unsurprisingly, developed in a lab—William Mitchell’s, to be exact. The General Foods employee stumbled on the candy in a failed attempt to develop powdered soda in the 1950s, but General Foods held off on releasing them until the 1970s, assuming their bizarre texture would give them a niche appeal at best. Magic Shell is less exotic; turns out cocoa fat naturally solidifies at room temperature, making it the perfect ice cream coating.
Slurpees, meanwhile, were actually developed at a Dairy Queen, not 7-Eleven, which is the chain that made them famous. A franchise owner created the distinctive-looking machines to maintain carbonation and a fluffy texture by keeping Coca-Cola ingredients at a low pressure and in constant motion. 7-Eleven bought the patented machines in 1965, which in turn inspired a humble Houston restaurateur to retrofit an ice cream machine and give the world the frozen margarita. The rest, of course, is history. Head over to Gizmodo for the full rundown on these summer snacks’ origin stories.