At some point during your childhood, your parents probably got tired of answering your incessant questions and just started making things up to satisfy your thirst for knowledge. “Why are there holes in Swiss cheese, mommy?” It’s because tiny elves live in the queso, son. “Why do beans make you gassy, dad?” It’s probably because you talked back to your mom and they are punishing you.
Then you entered adulthood, and it seemed like everyone else already knew the answers to these daily mysteries. It’s not cool to ask, and it’s certainly not cool to think imitation cheese powder comes from very rare cows that live near the New Jersey Turnpike.
Fortunately for you, we’ve delved into some common food conundrums that would make anyone curious (e.g., why are chip bags only half full?). Read on to discover the answers to your most pressing food questions.
Why does cereal clump together?
When pouring a bowl of cocoa puffs, it always seems like every single puff joins forces to become a megacluster of chocolatey goodness.
According to Live Science, this is actually a scientific phenomena called the Cereal Effect. It applies to everything that floats, including soda bubbles.
The top layer of any liquid is called the meniscus, and it can either be convex or concave. When you put in one cocoa puff, it makes an imperceptible dent in the surface tension. So when you add a second puff, it moves toward that first dent. It’s almost like a ball rolling down a hill, but on a very minuscule scale.
In summary: It’s because of gravity.
If pizza is round, why are pizza boxes square?
We know you’ve wondered this countless times over a midnight pizza (with or without the influence of weed). Pizza boxes are square because they are mass-produced.
The square shape makes them easy to cut, stack, and store. Instructables reports that the mythical circular pizza box does exist, it’s just more expensive because of its shape.
In summary: It’s because of economics.
Why does swiss cheese have holes?
We’re sure your parents came up with great answers for why Swiss cheese has holes, but we’re here to give you the straight talk. Prepare for some science!
Swiss cheese has holes because of the bacteria that turn milk into cheese, according to Live Science. S. thermophilus, Lactobacillus, and P. shermani are the three bacteria that Swiss cheese makers mix into cow’s milk. They produce curds, which get immersed in brine, wrapped, and placed underground to mature.
At this point, the bacteria really get to work and start eating away at the cheese. P. shermani produces gas as a byproduct of this process, creating air bubbles within the curds. As the cheese ages, these bubbles harden and become the holes in the Swiss cheese.
In summary: It’s because of bacteria farts.
What is imitation cheese powder made from?
Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Imitation cheese powder, which includes the orange powder found in Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Cheetos, is made from a combination of vegetable oil, casein (a milk protein), sodium, and dye.
Wise Geek reports that imitation cheese was primarily developed to drive down cost and increase shelf life.
What we’re saying is that no, it’s not real cheese, in case you ever tried to convince yourself otherwise.
In summary: Real cheese doesn’t come in the form of dried orange powder.
Why do beans make you gassy?
We hate to burst your bubble (LULZ), but there’s simply no fixing any beans-related problems you might be having. Human digestive systems are not designed to cope with beans, according to Food Republic. We lack the ability to digest a type of sugar called oligosaccharides, which beans are almost completely made from.
When you eat a bean burrito, the helpful bacteria that live in your gut attempt to break down the legumes through a process called saccharolytic fermentation. Unfortunately, the result is gas.
In summary: It’s due to bacteria farts, once again.
How do you milk an almond?
It may seem impossible that creamy, delicious milk could ever come from a nut. But anyone can make almond milk with very little effort. The recipe below comes from Instructables.
How to make almond milk: First, soak a pound of nuts overnight. This will soften them, making it easier to grind them up. (Less water will mean a thicker milk, closer to a cream or half and half.) Next, puree the pre-soaked almonds in the blender, getting them down to a thick white paste.
Put the puree into a mesh bag or slice of cheesecloth, then squeeze as hard as you can. The milk will come trickling out, slowly but surely. When it seems that all the liquid is out, fine strain the milk to make sure it’s as creamy as possible. Leave the milk to sit for 24 hours, adding vanilla, sugar, and flavoring as you see fit.
In summary: Milking an almond is super-easy and does not involve any udders.
Why are chip bags always half-empty?
It may seem like a rip-off, but chip bags are supposed to be half-empty. The extra space is created by something called slack fill, which is designed the protect your precious Cheetos from the cold, hard realities of packing and shipping.
Mental Floss explains that the bags get puffed up with nitrogen, and for good reason. Oxygen inside the bag would allow the delicious chips to go bad and even make the oil turn rancid.
The FDA requires that snack makers label the weight of the product so that customers know the food-to-air ratio they’re getting. Still, looks can be deceiving.
In summary: To protect the chips from breaking or going bad.
All GIFs courtesy of Giphy.