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We all love a good cup of coffee to start off the morning, but this beverage can be used in several other ways. Just like coffee is good for our bodies, it has other benefits that can make our lives easier.

Next time you think about throwing those used coffee grounds away, think again. They can be recycled and used throughout your home or garden. Here are 10 creative ways to enjoy coffee besides drinking it.

10 Insect Repellent

Mosquitoes are pesky and annoying. The little bloodsuckers can ruin a relaxing night outdoors. You will find yourself busy swatting them away instead of enjoying the time with friends and family.

Coffee grounds are an unusual solution to this annoying little problem. According to the EPA, coffee grounds are a safe and effective way to repel mosquitoes and other troublesome insects. A study also showed that coffee grounds and caffeine could kill larvae by preventing the development of adult mosquitoes. The insects were not able to build a resistance to coffee.

To burn coffee grounds to use as a repellent, start by grabbing your used grounds and placing them in a bowl covered in foil. Once the grounds have dried, burn them like incense. It is best to choose a spot upwind of your location, and you can add fresh bay leaves to the fire for extra repellent.[1]

This is a cheap and effective way to prevent those bothersome insects from ruining your night.

9 Stain Wood Furniture

Everyone is always looking for DIY projects around their house. Staining wood furniture is one of the many projects that people attempt to tackle. There are a lot of manufactured wood stain products on the market, but you won’t need to buy any of them if you have coffee at home. The method of staining wood with coffee is natural and chemical-free, and the finish is exceptional. The coat will also get darker as it becomes older.

To stain wood with coffee, simply start by brewing a pot of coffee. Then allow it to cool. The stronger you brew, the darker the stain will be. Use fine sandpaper to sand the surface that you plan to stain. Pour the cool coffee into a plastic container along with alum to help it adhere to the wood.

Use your sponge, rag, or cloth to spread the coffee over the wood surface. Don’t worry about using too much because it will absorb. Let the wood sit for 10–15 minutes, and you can repeat if you would like the wood to be darker.[2]

How satisfying is it to know that you stained your wood furniture with a natural and nonchemical substance found in your home!

8 Create Air Freshener

We are always coming into contact with unpleasant smells, whether it is from the kitchen, bathroom, living room, or even your vehicle. Sometimes, you have to freshen up those areas with an air freshener.

Don’t have one handy? Make it yourself from coffee found in your home. Most air fresheners only cover up the odor, but an air freshener made from coffee can absorb the odor to keep it away.

Coffee beans act like baking soda does in a fridge. They help to absorb the smell and eliminate it. An air freshener can be easily made from coffee grounds to help any area smell better. All you need is a pair of old socks, your favorite brew, and a tall glass or cup.

Stick the sock down in the glass, and roll the excess over the outside of the glass. Then pour some coffee grounds or beans into the sock, pull the sock out, and tie it in a knot. Stick the air freshener anywhere that needs some help. For those who want to get fancy, you can stick the sock in a decorative bowl to hide it.[3]

7 Dry Rubs For Steak Or Chili

We all love to consume our favorite coffee in drink form, but did you know that it is also delicious to eat? If you have extra brewed joe or grounds lying around, you can spice up almost any food. Coffee is a spice that brings rich, deep, and earthy flavors to food. You’ll mostly find it on red meats and desserts to add an espresso-like taste.

Coffee can be added to a marinade for roast meat, braising liquid for beef short ribs, barbecue sauce for grilled chicken, a sauce for fried eggs, or a pancake topper. You can even mix it with your favorite spices to create an amazing dry rub for burgers, spice-crusted pork, or lamb.

Using coffee while cooking can really add the extra flavor to make many dishes pop. There are several recipes available if you are looking to experiment with cooking with coffee.[4]

6 Exfoliate Your Skin

Not only does coffee have some great benefits for the inside of your body, but it is also valuable for your skin. The grounds can help balance the pH of the skin. Coffee is loaded with antioxidants that battle free radicals and is a great product to exfoliate the skin. It helps you to shed dead and dry skin to reveal a glow, and it adds extra shine to your hair.[5]

Many of the ingredients you need to make a face mask or exfoliating face scrub are found in your home. Making a scrub with natural properties will be beneficial to your skin as it eliminates lines and dry skin. Coffee can also be mixed to create body scrubs, hair masks, and foot scrubs.

Try making a homemade mask or scrub one day, and you will be amazed at how well it treats your skin.

5 Compost And Fertilizer

Instead of letting your old coffee grounds end up in a landfill, use them in your garden and compost pile. Using coffee grounds in your garden helps to add nitrogen to your compost pile.

You can simply throw the grounds into your compost pile, or they can be used as a fertilizer. Using grounds as a fertilizer adds an organic material to your soil, which improves drainage, water retention, and aeration in the soil.

Coffee grounds can even repel slugs and snails in the garden. If you want to add coffee grounds to your compost or fertilizer, stop by your local Starbucks. Participating stores give out free bags of used coffee grounds as part of their Grounds For Your Garden program.[6]

The company does this to recycle and help reduce waste. Use this organic resource in your garden to help reduce the amount of products going to a landfill.

4 Clean Out Garbage Disposal

Since coffee is a great deodorizer like baking soda, it can be used to freshen up garbage disposals. They often start to release an unpleasant smell, and coffee grounds are an excellent solution to this problem. You don’t have to waste good coffee for this little DIY trick. Used grounds are just fine.

To make a garbage disposal cleaning pad, you will need coffee grounds, Epsom salts, baking soda, and vinegar.[7] Once you properly mix the ingredients, you will use a measuring spoon to create the small cleaners and allow them to dry overnight. Then you can drop one in your garbage disposal when needed. Turn on the disposal and water to enjoy a wonderful new smell coming from your kitchen sink.

3 Coat Sidewalks During Winter

If you live in areas that experience a lot of snow during the winter, then you probably know all about using salt on your sidewalks. Salt is effective in melting the ice to prevent slipping, but it can be destructive to the environment. Salt can also restrict plants from absorbing the proper amount of water and nutrition. If you are looking for a safer alternative to salt, try using coffee.[8]

You probably had a hot cup of brew to help keep you warm on those winter days. Save the coffee grounds, and generously sprinkle them across the snowy sidewalk as you would salt. The grounds work just as sand or salt would and give you the opportunity to walk across the sidewalk. The acid of the coffee even helps to melt away the snow more quickly.

Save those coffee grounds to stay environmentally friendly during those snowy days!

2 Wash Your Hair

Instead of drinking coffee, try throwing it on your hair during a shower. There are many advantages to washing your hair with coffee because it has a lower pH than water. The rough grounds exfoliate the scalp and stimulate hair follicles to help growth. Coffee is found in many shampoos now because of the benefits it provides.

The caffeine in the coffee is great for your hair, too. It helps stimulate the hair roots and may deter baldness and hair loss. The caffeine will block the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and enables hair shafts to grow faster.

It also has a way of making your hair shine more. You can use coffee to make a hair rinse to enhance hair color and texture, a hair mask to make it softer and shinier, and a hair oil to stimulate the roots of the hair.[9]

1 Protect Dog From Fleas

Everybody loves a good cup of coffee, except fleas. They hate coffee, but they do love your dog. If you notice that your dog is itching from those pesky fleas, then save your coffee grounds from that cup of joe you had this morning. The grounds can help to get rid of the fleas when mixed with the dog’s shampoo.

Start by giving your dog a bath as usual. After you have shampooed Spot, generously rub the coffee grounds through the dog’s hair. Then rinse the grounds from the animal’s hair and be sure to look for those loose grounds that haven’t shaken off. The coffee will act as a natural repellent and help remove the fleas that were annoying your dog.[10]

I’m just another bearded guy trying to write my way through life. Visit me at www.MDavidScott.com


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The human body is made up of about 37 trillion cells. After all, that is what the textbooks say, right?

Wrong!

In fact, our bodies contain 30–50 trillion extra cells which belong to the bacteria living in your intestines. However, these bacteria are rather small, weighing a measly 1.4 kilograms (3 lb) altogether, a minor part of human body weight. Small as they are, we should be thankful to have them as they improve our health in numerous and surprising ways.

In fact, the bacteria in our guts, collectively known as microbiota (or microbiome to include the bacterial genes), are so important for our well-being that the National Institutes of Health launched the Human Microbiome Project back in 2008.

The days when bacteria were considered only as little bugs causing disease are behind us. Let’s explore some of the most fascinating facts about the microbiota and see how important your intestinal bacteria are for your health. Also, we will see how to encourage the good bacteria in your system and, if you are a healthy person, whether your stool might be useful for somebody else!

10 A Healthy Microbiome In A Healthy Gut

The first obvious place to look at the effects of gut bacteria on our health is in the gut itself. Recent research has shown that good bacteria interact with the epithelial cells lining the gut and the cells of the immune system that fight the bad bacteria such as Salmonella.

Salmonella evokes a strong inflammatory reaction, which is in itself a good thing as this helps to attack and destroy the microbe. Unfortunately, inflammation can also damage healthy gut tissue.

The good bacteria put the brakes on inflammation by communicating with cells of the immune system. These cells then start to secrete anti-inflammatory molecules to reduce inflammation.

The good bacteria ensure an optimal balance between the inflammatory reactions that attack bad bacteria while leaving healthy gut tissue and food alone. As a result, the intestines are in optimal shape to nourish our body.[1]

9 Allergies

Food allergies have increased by about 50 percent in children since 1997. Various theories have attempted to explain why, and the one gaining the most traction right now concerns changed eating habits and, hence, altered microbiome composition.

Did you know that today’s American children have had on average three antibiotic treatments, killing off many of their gut bacteria, before they are three years old? Laboratory studies in mice have shown that antibiotics given early in life increase the risk for food allergies dramatically.

When these mice are fed Clostridia, which are naturally occurring bacteria in mice, the food allergies disappear. These bacteria protect the lining of the intestines and thereby prevent the entry of reaction-causing food proteins into the bloodstream.

Other healthy bacteria such as Bacteroides do not have a protective effect. It seems that each bacteria species plays a unique role in immune responses, such as those involved in allergies.[2]

8 Cancer Immunotherapy

Cancer immunotherapies activate the immune system to attack a tumor. The outcome of the therapy varies from person to person. The bugs living in your gut are a determining factor in how successful the therapy will be. As a rule of thumb, the more variety in your microbiome, the better you will respond to immunotherapy.

The species of bacteria in the gut is also important. The presence of bacteria known as Clostridiales and Akkermansia will likely lead to a favorable outcome with immunotherapy, whereas the presence of Bacteroidales will more often than not reduce therapy success. People taking antibiotics, which kill a substantial part of the microbiota, respond less well to cancer immunotherapy.

Don’t think that the influence of the microbiome on the outcome of cancer therapy is too far-fetched. For liver cancer, the entire biological mechanism connecting the microbiome with the tumor has been described in astonishing detail—complete with cell types and molecules involved. Perhaps clinicians should start looking at how antibiotics are used in cancer patients receiving immunotherapy?[3]

7 And They Lived Happily Ever After

Fruit flies have an average life span of about 40 days (if not eaten sooner by a hungry bird, of course). When scientists fed the flies with a combination of probiotics and an herbal supplement called Triphala, they were able to prolong the life of the flies by as many as 26 days!

The flies were protected against diseases of aging, such as increased insulin resistance and inflammation. These effects were caused by the completely altered composition of the microbiota by the probiotics (that are live bacteria themselves).

For flies, the secret to a long life therefore lies in the microbiota and the gut. But this may also hold true for humans to some extent because flies and humans share as much as 70 percent of their biochemical pathways.[4]

6 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes patients know that consuming fiber-rich food can improve their condition. A fiber-rich diet promotes the growth of particular strains of bacteria, which produce short-chain fatty acids. These products of carbohydrates nourish the epithelial cells of our gut, reduce inflammation, and help to control appetite.

After 12 weeks of a high-fiber diet, sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients are much better controlled, weight loss is increased, and lipid levels are improved. The diet can rebalance the gut microbiome, and healthy dieting may thus become an important part of diabetes treatment.[5]

5 Anxiety And Depression

Imagine a life without bacteria in your guts. How would you feel? Probably anxious and depressed with little desire to see friends and family. At least, this is what studies in germ-free mice have shown.

You really need those bugs in your system because they are important for how you feel. Their presence influences the molecular biology in your brain, especially in an almond-shaped structure known as the amygdala and in a particular region of the cortex.

These brain structures control emotion and mood. Thus, there is a direct link between the bacteria in your intestines and the molecular biology of the brain. Further research is needed to show whether it is possible to alter the microbiome in humans to treat mood disorders—an interesting approach that might put psychiatrists out of business.[6]

4 Nature Versus Nurture

The composition of the microbiome differs from person to person. For a long time, it has been thought that this variability finds its origin in differences in our genes (nature). However, recent research has revealed that genetic variation contributes only 2 percent to microbiome makeup. Instead, diet and lifestyle are by far the most important determinants of microbiome composition (nurture).

Of course, this is excellent news. It means that we can change the population of bugs living in our guts by changing our diets or by adopting healthy lifestyles. Try changing your genome. You can’t—it is fixed from birth. But we can change our microbiome, which could significantly improve our health.[7]

3 ‘There’s No Friends Like The Old Friends’—James Joyce

Living in the countryside might be peaceful and quiet. However, the real reason why people living in rural areas enjoy better health than those living in cities is that they can stand stress much better. This is because their immune systems do not suffer from the negative consequences of stress. This is especially true for people growing up in close contact with farm animals.

The animals are covered with and surrounded by a whole set of environmental bacteria that no doubt colonize humans as well. In fact, we have been living in perfect harmony with these bacteria for thousands of years. They are old friends that give us a hand in staying healthy.[8]

2 Vaccination With Bacteria

Everybody is familiar with the principle of vaccination. A crippled virus is injected into your body, and the immune system prepares itself for the attack of the real virus some time later. Did you know that it is possible to do something similar with bacteria?

For example, mice have been immunized with the soil bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae, which made them more resistant to stress. They were also protected against stress-induced colitis, a typical symptom of inflammatory bowel disease.

As compared to classic vaccination, a particular advantage of immunization with bacteria is that the bacteria have a broad beneficial effect on the immune system and inflammation. Bacteria have other benefits for human health as well. In contrast, vaccination is directed against one germ only.

When we think about all this, it seems absolutely astonishing that your whole immune system works better thanks to a simple injection of bacteria. This may even be a treatment option for autoimmune diseases and allergies.[9]

1 Fecal Transplant

Considering all the beneficial effects of the proper gut flora on human health, it is not surprising that there is strong interest in fecal transplantation—the transfer of stool from a healthy to a diseased person. Gross as this may seem at first, did you ever think about the stool of patients with colitis? We won’t go into detail here, but it is not a pretty sight.

People are more concerned with the safety issues associated with fecal transplantation. As there are few long-term studies on the effects of fecal transplantation in humans, it is not clear if the positive effects observed in the short term will be sustained over time. Also, the risks of any long-term negative consequences, such as infections, are unclear.

Under Canadian and US regulations, the stool used for fecal transplantation is a biological product and drug. If strict safety measures are observed, it may be used for the treatment of Clostridium difficile infections when other treatments are unsuccessful. Results are quite promising.

However, clinical results with fecal transplantation for the treatment of irritable bowel disease are not as clear yet. This is probably because there are many factors involved in this pathology.[10]

Nevertheless, studies are under way to explore the role for the gut microbiota in many other conditions, such as liver disease, colorectal and other cancers, and even autism.

Erwin Vandenburg is a scientist and one of the founders of sciencebriefss, an organization aiming to present new scientific knowledge in a concise and clear manner to the general public.


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Many people have heard the story of Typhoid Mary, the healthy woman who spread disease everywhere she went. However, almost no one knows the story of Mary Mallon, a feisty woman with a carving knife, who fought hard for freedom from imprisonment from the New York City Health Department.

Of course, Mary Mallon was “Typhoid Mary.” Some people view her as a victim, others as an unrepentant killer. Certainly, her story has much to do with the lack of information about and treatments for typhoid in the 19th century. Even today, typhoid infects about 22 million people each year, with about 200,000 dying, especially in developing countries. And we have vaccinations and treatments for this deadly disease now.

So, is it any wonder that Typhoid Mary could strike such fear into 19th-century hearts?

10 Typhoid Fever Was One Of The 19th Century’s Worst Killers

In the 19th century, diseases spread rapidly in New York City where horses dropped massive amounts of manure on the streets each day. By 1894, the manure problem had reached crisis proportions in major cities across the world. According to one estimate, New York City’s horses numbered at least 100,000 (and probably considerably more) and were polluting the streets with at least 1.1 million kilograms (2.5 million lb) of excrement each day.[1]

Dead and decaying animals also lined the streets. Families squeezed together in tenement buildings with overflowing outhouses. All these factors combined to hasten the spread of typhoid fever.

It invaded the stomach and small intestines, causing infections in the liver, gallbladder, spleen, heart, lungs, and kidneys. The deadliest damage occurred in the intestines. In severe cases, patients became delirious and developed severe diarrhea. Typhoid killed 10–30 percent of its victims, and their deaths were agonizing.

9 Dr. George Soper Became A Germ-Fighting Celebrity Hero

Dr. George Soper studied typhoid fever. He wanted to know what caused it, how it spread, and how to stop it. Soper promoted himself as a “sanitation engineer and chemist.” Soon, companies were hiring him to investigate germs and the spread of disease.

In 1903, there was a typhoid outbreak in Ithaca, New York. All over town, people were bedridden. Over a dozen patients a day were admitted to the city hospital. It was especially alarming that many of these were college students. Approximately 1,000 students, over one-third of the student body, at Cornell University evacuated the campus due to the deadly disease.[2]

Soper went to work. He knew he had to stop sewage from polluting streams, rivers, and wells. He identified an area known as Six Mile Creek as the source of the outbreak. After insisting that all water be boiled, he recommended the use of a new filtering system for the city’s water.

He also ordered a massive disinfection of area hospitals and hired a team of 15 men to clean 1,200 outhouses. Many people credited him with restoring health to Ithaca and Cornell University.

8 Typhoid Fever Spread Wherever Mary Went

The Warrens were an affluent family renting a vacation home on Oyster Bay on Long Island. There were six family members and five servants. When six people contracted typhoid fever, no one blamed the cook—at first.

The Thompsons, the owners of the home, hired George Soper to investigate. After analyzing the water supply and the family’s food, he turned his suspicions on Mary Mallon, the family’s former cook.[3]

Further research revealed that Mallon had worked for eight families. Seven of them faced outbreaks of typhoid fever, with 22 cases in all.

While this seemed an unlikely coincidence, Soper knew that he would need more proof. In fact, he needed help from Mary Mallon.

7 Typhoid Mary Was Violent

George Soper was on a mission. He paid Mary Mallon a surprise visit at her current employer’s home. After telling her that he represented the New York City Health Department, he explained that she was infecting people with a dangerous disease. He requested that she supply urine, stool, and blood specimens.[4]

Mary became angry. She cursed at him, grabbed a carving knife, and lunged toward him. Soper ran from the house.

He thought Mary might respond better to a woman. So he sent Josephine Baker, one of the first female physicians, to talk to Mary. (Some sources say that Hermann Biggs at the health department sent Baker.) Either way, her visit was also disastrous. Baker reported, “She (Mary) came out fighting and swearing, both of which she could do with appalling efficiency and vigor.”

When Baker returned with police officers and an ambulance, Mary tried to stab Baker with a large kitchen fork. Then Mary kicked, screamed, and swore at the police officers. To keep Mary from escaping, Baker sat on her chest, pinning her to the floor of the ambulance.

Later, Mary wrote threatening letters to George Soper and Josephine Baker saying that she planned to take a gun and kill them.

6 Mary Mallon Was Taken By Force

Mary Mallon was taken against her will by force and held without a trial. After policemen put her into the ambulance, Mary traveled to Willard Parker Hospital where she had to give urine, stool, and blood samples to prove that she was a carrier of typhoid fever.

Throughout the examination, Mary insisted that she was healthy. She did not understand how she could spread a deadly disease. She was sure that she had never had typhoid fever.

Walter Bensel of the New York City Health Department declared, “This woman is a great menace to health, a danger to the community, and she has been made a prisoner on that account.”[5]

After completing their examination, hospital employees escorted Mary to a boat. The steamer carried her to North Brother Island, which belonged to Riverside Hospital. This remote island was in the middle of the East River and accessible only by boat. Escape would be impossible. The facility quarantined people with infectious diseases like typhus and smallpox.

Mary lived in a small bungalow along the riverbank. This was her home for almost three years.

5 Soper Offered To Release Mary If She Would Have Her Gallbladder Removed

While at Willard Parker Hospital, Dr. Soper visited Mary and offered her a deal. Since most of her germs were in her gallbladder, they could release her if she agreed to have this organ removed. He explained that the gallbladder was like the appendix. The body didn’t need it to survive.

Mary refused to let doctors operate. “No knife will be put on me. There is nothing the matter with my gallbladder,” she declared.[6]

Of course, surgery always has risks. But they were even greater in the early 1900s as shown by the picture above of a surgery performed in 1900. No one even wore masks. The operating room and procedures were not hygienic, especially by today’s standards.

Mary was becoming increasingly suspicious of doctors. And who could blame her?

4 The Health Department Used Experimental Drugs On Typhoid Mary

Doctors prescribed Urotropin, a drug made from ammonia and formaldehyde.[7] It was not effective. Mary found the side effects to be unpleasant. Doctors also experimented with other drugs, changed her diet, and gave her laxatives. Tests showed that she was still a typhoid fever carrier.

3 Mary Received A Marriage Proposal While Quarantined

Reuben Gray, a 28-year-old Michigan farmer, wrote to Health Commissioner Thomas Darlington. Gray had read about Typhoid Mary. He wanted to marry her and offer her a home on his large farm far from town. There, Mary would not put other lives in danger.

Gray knew that Mary was a good cook. That was what he wanted most in a wife. “One thing she should be made aware of before the tie is bound,” wrote Gray, “and that is that I have been insane, but it was over three years ago.”[8]

Mary declined his offer.

2 Mary Was Sneaky

In February 1910, Ernst Lederle, the new health commissioner, offered Mary a deal. If she gave up cooking and reported to the health department every month for tests, she would be released.

For the first year, Mary observed all the rules. She reported monthly to the health department. She did not work as a cook.

But she struggled to find work and make a living. Cooks made more money than other domestic workers. When Mary stopped reporting to the health department, no one noticed at first. She changed her name to Mary Brown and took several jobs as a cook.

In 1915, five years after Mary’s release, there was a typhoid outbreak at Sloane Hospital for Women (renamed from Sloane Maternity Hospital in 1910) in Manhattan. Twenty-five people were diagnosed with the disease. Two of them died.[9]

Once again, Dr. Soper investigated. He discovered that the hospital had hired a new cook, a Mrs. Brown, just three months before the typhoid fever cases surfaced.

Investigators tested the kitchen staff. Mrs. Brown’s test was positive. Soper became more suspicious when he learned that the cook had disappeared again. Soper examined the kitchen’s records and soon recognized Mary’s handwriting from the threatening letters he had received.

This time, the public became angry. The Board of Health sent Mary back to Riverside Hospital. She lived there for 23 years. After a stroke left her paralyzed, she was transferred from her cottage to the hospital on the island. She stayed there until her death on November 11, 1938.

1 Mary Was Neither The Only Carrier Of Typhoid Nor The Most Deadly

Mary Mallon was the first typhoid carrier to be identified. However, by 1909, the New York City Health Department had found five healthy carriers. Only Mary was quarantined. She was believed to have infected 47–51 people, causing three deaths.

However, Tony Labella, another healthy carrier of typhoid fever, had infected 122 people (over twice as many as Mallon had). Five died. He was quarantined for two weeks and then released. At age 39, he disappeared.

The Health Department also forbade typhoid carrier Alphonse Cotils, a restaurant and bakery owner, to prepare food for other people. When he violated orders, charges were filed. Yet, the judge did not arrest him because he had a wife and children to support.

At the time, up to 4,500 new cases of typhoid occurred in New York City each year. Approximately 3 percent of sufferers were believed to become carriers. As a result, as many as 135 new typhoid carriers appeared each year. Mary Mallon may have spent most of her life in isolation, but she was far from alone in becoming a carrier of typhoid fever.[10]

Lou Hunley is a children’s librarian. She loves learning more about strange historical events. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys hiking, biking, and playing pickleball.


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Have you ever wondered how your favorite foods were invented?

Most of us probably envision a chef or a food company employee experimenting endlessly to craft the perfect concoction for palates that are tired of the same old thing. A pinch of this, a dash of that, and voila! Finally, after days or even months of hard work, a new food is created.

As it turns out, pure dumb luck is often the greatest inventor of all. Here are 10 favorite foods that came about by complete accident.

10 Popsicles

In 1905, Frank Epperson invented the Popsicle. This delicious fruity treat is something that almost everyone has tasted. When it is hot in the summer, it is good to have your fridge stuffed with these treats.

Frank was only 11 years old when he invented these ice pops. This child had received some soda-making equipment and was excited to start producing soda. Accidentally, he left the sugary mixture out overnight.

The night was bitterly cold. By the next morning, the stick he had used to stir the soda had frozen into the mixture.

The young inventor proceeded to lick the soda blend off the stick. He called it the “Epsicle,” naming it after himself. Then he started to sell his concoction to neighbors and friends in his area. They all enjoyed the sweet treat. In 1924, he patented his invention and renamed it as “Popsicle.”[1]

9 Chocolate Chip Cookies

In 1930, Ruth Wakefield invented the chocolate chip cookie. You may be wondering how such a delicious treat could have been created by complete mistake. But, of course, it was. Surprisingly enough, she and her loving husband owned a tourist lodge called the Toll House Inn.

One day at the inn, she was making chocolate cookies for her many guests and discovered that she had run out of baker’s chocolate, one of the key ingredients. Instead of running to the store to grab more baker’s chocolate, she chopped up some Nestle chocolate and put it into the cookie batter.

She assumed that the Nestle chocolate would spread out to create a whole chocolate cookie when it was baked in the oven. Instead, she invented the chocolate chip cookie.[2] This one little mistake created greatness in America’s food history.

8 Ice Cream Cones

In 1904, Arnold Fornachou created ice cream cones—with some help from a fellow vendor. Business was booming on that hot summer day, and eventually, Arnold ran out of plastic cups in which to serve his mouthwatering ice cream. Luckily, a pastry chef was selling pastries nearby and came to Arnold’s rescue.[3]

The pastry chef had some waffles left over. He showed Arnold how to roll them up to form a cone-like shape that would easily hold a good amount of ice cream. This was a delicious way to serve ice cream, and Arnold’s customers loved it.

Today, ice cream is served in wafer cones, waffle cones, kiddie cones, and even waffle cone bowls. We can all thank Arnold Fornachou and the pastry chef for this great invention.

7 The Sandwich

In the 1700s, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, discovered that two slices of bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and mustard inside tasted delicious. His story, you ask? There are many versions that suggest why and how the sandwich was made.

One popular tale is that John Montagu gambled a lot. It took up so much of his time that he could not possibly leave an intense card game. So he often requested that meat be brought to him between two thin slices of bread. That way, he could eat a meal without using a fork or getting his hands dirty by directly touching the meat.[4]

Another version of the story is that Montagu sat at his desk for hours, trying to create a utensil-free meal that could fill up his stomach and still be easy to eat. Eventually, he came up with the sandwich.

As time went on, people thought of the different types of sandwiches that we eat today. People now fill sandwiches with meat, veggies, sauces, and even different types of sweets.

6 Tofu

Many stories have suggested why and how tofu was invented, but here is one of the most original. According to legend, an ancient Chinese cook accidentally dropped a piece of nigari into a pot of soybean milk. A curdling effect was created, which made tofu.

The chef served the new, unidentified substance to his customers, and surprisingly, they loved the new food. The cook continued to serve the dish, making many customers very happy.

To this day, people eat tofu as a replacement for meat or just as a healthy vegetarian option. The great thing about it is that it tastes like whatever it is cooked in. Tofu is featured in many Asian dishes.[5]

5 Potato Chips

In 1853, George Crum worked at Moon’s Lake House near Saratoga Springs. He was a chef and wanted to fulfill his customers’ orders without any flaws. One day, a loyal customer ordered a batch of fried potatoes but did not enjoy their thickness. So he sent them back to the kitchen to be remade—but thinner.

His request was taken seriously, and the cook fulfilled his second order. Unfortunately, the second batch was not to the customer’s standards. This happened one or two times, each batch not being thin enough for the customer’s liking.

Tired of the complaints, George took a potato and sliced it as thin as he possibly could, knowing that this had to be the order that the customer would like to eat. George fried and salted the potato slices, trying his hardest to make them as delicious as possible.

He brought them out to the customer and hoped that this batch would be satisfactory. The customer loved them, and this new food was named the potato chip.[6]

4 Corn Flakes

In the 19th century, William and John Kellogg invented corn flakes. These two brothers worked at Battle Creek Sanitarium, where vegetarianism and knowing how to be healthy were very important.

One day, the Kelloggs were looking for a substitute for bread. First, they boiled wheat. Unfortunately (but fortunately for us), they boiled the wheat too long. When they rolled it out, it fell into many flakes. Lastly, they baked it—and poof! Out came the bread flakes!

Many people thought that this was delicious, but the Kelloggs knew that they could make it better. The brothers substituted corn for wheat, and corn flakes were born.[7]

3 Slurpees

In the late 1950s, Omar Knedlik invented the treat we all know and love—Slurpees. You may have had this delicious drink as a refreshment at the movie theater or as a yummy dessert. But did you know the story behind the invention of the Slurpee?

Knedlik owned a Dairy Queen franchise. Compared to today, the shop’s machines were not quite as reliable. One day, the soda fountain wasn’t working so Knedlik stuck bottles of soda in the freezer. He kept them in a bit long, and the liquid became slushy and solid. He served the concoction to his customers, and surprisingly, they loved it.[8]

Knedlik continued to receive requests for this slushy soda, and he proceeded to call it a Slurpee!

2 Dippin’ Dots

In 1988, microbiologist Curt Jones invented our favorite sweet snack, Dippin’ Dots. Jones was trying to figure out how to feed cows faster and easier while using fewer materials. He froze a batch of cow feed at around -212 degrees Celsius (-350 °F), and the resulting pellets could easily be fed to the waiting cows.

Jones discovered that this same method could be used with human food. He tested it with ice cream and created Dippin’ Dots, the fun summer treat that we all love.[9]

1 Coca-Cola

In 1886, John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola. He was a wounded veteran who was addicted to morphine. Pemberton wanted to create a replacement for the morphine to alleviate his addiction. He experimented many times until he devised a formula with small amounts of cocaine and kola nut.

To this day, Coca-Cola is a well-known soda brand that is sold throughout the US.[10] You can get this drink at the movie theater, at a festival, at the store to take home with you, or anywhere else you can possibly think of!

I am a young adult, and I love to write about anything and everything! I enjoy making lists as well, so this combines my two hobbies into one!


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Evel Knievel is the household name for death-defying stunts. When you think of motorcycle stunts, you likely picture him in his Elvis-inspired costumes, leaping over rows of cars and buses. To many, he is still the greatest stuntman of all time and arguably the most famous.

However, records are made to be broken, and stunt performers are always pushing the boundaries of what’s considered possible. Believe it or not, over the last several years, some people have pulled stunts that make Knievel’s look tame by comparison.

10 Danny Way Ollies The Great Wall Of China On A Skateboard


A skateboarder doing something crazier than Evel Knievel? “That’s ridiculous!” I hear you say, but it’s true.

In 2005, Danny Way stunned the world by ollying over the Great Wall of China on a skateboard. If Way, who had previously leaped out of a helicopter on a skateboard and built a seven-story ramp, wasn’t already the Knievel of skateboarding, this certainly sealed the deal. He had a custom ramp built around the tallest portion of the Great Wall (since, you know, jumping the lower portions wouldn’t cut it). The ramp was tall enough that the top swayed in the wind.

During a practice run, he accidentally broke his foot, but instead of getting surgery right away (like a sane person), Way wrapped his foot to prevent it from swelling and jumped the wall anyway. On his way down, he rolled onto the ramp, and everyone’s heart skipped a beat—he not only jumped the Great Wall but performed a breathtaking 360, thus conquering it like a Mongol![1]

9 Kyle Loza Performs The Electric Death


Kyle Loza is one insane man. As proof, consider how he cheated death during the 2008 Summer X-Games Best Trick competition.

In mere seconds, he launched his bike three stories into the air, and while keeping just one hand on the bars, he did a handstand in midair and flipped his body all the way around—briefly touching the hand of death—before returning to his seat. He then landed and simply rolled away like it was an everyday occurrence![2]

8 Brian Deegan Performs A 360 Flatspin While Injured


Brian Deegan is the original bad boy of freestyle motocross. He practically invented the sport when he “ghost rode” his bike across the finish line in celebration after winning the 1997 LA Supercross. The American Motorcyclist Association disapproved of this stunt, and he was fined for it, but the crowd ate it up. Deegan then teamed up with Larry Linkogle to form the freestyle motocross (FMX) team Metal Mulisha and soon began dominating the early days of FMX competition.

Despite still nursing an injury he received from the prior Winter X-Games, Deegan entered the 2004 Summer X-Games FMX Best Trick competition. With his punk rock attitude, he launched toward the ramp and shot into the air, performing a jaw-dropping 360-degree flatspin. This dangerous maneuver combines a backflip with a horizontal rotation. This stunt is tough enough to pull off when healthy but nearly impossible to do when injured![3]

7 Night Of Records 2006


In 1996, Seth Enslow technically broke Evel Knievel’s long distance jump record. During the filming of the FMX video Crusty Demons of Dirt 2: Twisted Metal, he took his Suzuki and jumped from one desert dune to another, traveling a distance of about 60 meters (200 ft)—breaking Knievel’s record of 43 meters (141 ft). However, he crash-landed onto a crowd of people and bikes. Fortunately, no one was injured, but since Enslow crashed, the record didn’t count. (Knievel crashed at the end of his jump, too.)

However, in 2006, a gathering of FMX riders arrived in Queensland, Australia, for the Night of Records. This was a FMX event where a few riders would attempt to break Doug Danger’s record of 77 meters (251 ft). (Danger had since broke Knievel’s long distance jump record.) Seth Enslow was scheduled but had to back out after injuring himself during a practice run. This gave Metal Mulisha founder Larry “Link” Linkogle a chance to break the record, which he did by jumping 78 meters (255 ft). He was the new world record holder . . . for a whole couple of hours.

On that same night, FMX rider Trigger Gumm, as if he were a rocket soaring to the Moon, flew an incredible 84 meters (277 ft) on his motorcycle, shattering both Danger’s and Linkogle’s records in a single night![4]

6 Carey Hart Lands The Holy Grail: The Backflip


Throughout the 1990s, motocross riders were pushing the envelope of the sport. This is when riders such as Jeremy McGrath and Mike Metzger began performing BMX tricks on their motorcycles, leading to the creation of freestyle motocross. Metzger and mutual rival Carey Hart wanted to adapt the ultimate BMX trick to the moto: the backflip.

However, both of them failed their attempts and visited the ER a number of times.

By the end of the 1990s, performing a backflip on a motorcycle was thought to be impossible. However, at the 2000 Gravity Games (the X-Games’ forgotten younger sister) Carey Hart made everyone’s heart stop when he launched his bike toward a dirt jump. In the blink of an eye, he was three stories in the air, inverse rotating his bike and landing the Holy Grail of FMX! The impossible was made possible, paving the way for a whole new era of freestyle motocross.[5]

5 Mike Metzger Backflips Over The Caesars Palace Fountains


In 1967, Evel Knievel saw the Fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and knew jumping them would be the ultimate thrill. If he could pull it off, he would forever be a legend. So he organized the jump with the casino’s CEO through some clever social engineering by posing as a fake corporation (Evel Knievel Enterprises), even going as far as making calls to the CEO claiming to be from ABC and Sports Illustrated to organize the jump.

On December 31, 1967, Knievel, after a shot of whiskey, jumped the fountains and landed on the ramp but came up short. Knievel ended up crashing, breaking a shopping list’s worth of bones, and spent 29 days in a coma.

In 2006, as a tribute to his childhood hero, Mike Metzger—the Godfather of freestyle motocross himself—wowed a crowd of spectators when he backflipped his 100-kilogram (220 lb) bike over the fountains at Caesars Palace, somersaulting 38 meters (125 ft) through the air.[6]

4 Robbie Madison Backflips No-Handed Over Tower Bridge


No one in their right mind has ever jumped London’s historic Tower Bridge.

That was until an early summer morning in 2009, when FMX rider Robbie Maddison (“Maddo”) did exactly that. Tower bridge was shut down by the police and moved to the raised position to become the world’s deadliest ramp. If Maddo were to fail, he would have been in serious trouble in the dark waters of the River Thames. He took his 120-kilogram (265 lb) bike and not only jumped across the raised bridge but performed a backflip during the jump.

This wasn’t an ordinary backflip, either, because as he rotated around, he let go of the bars as if to taunt the Grim Reaper himself and say, “Hey, Death! Look what I can do!”[7]

3 Travis Pastrana Performs A Double Backflip


From a young age, Travis Pastrana has always been successful on a motorcycle. At 16, he competed in the first-ever X-Games Freestyle Motocross Competition and invented his own trick: the Lazy Boy.

At 17, he was crowned the 2000 125cc Motocross champion, and at 18, he won the 2001 125cc Supercross Championship. His most daring feat on a motorcycle came during the 2006 Summer X-Games. During the FMX Best Trick competition, he was going to attempt the new Holy Grail—the double backflip. If he failed, he could have ended up seriously injured or even killed. But Travis, being Travis, was all right with that, as he “was just having fun.”

In front of the packed Staples Center crowd with his adrenaline pumping, he took his Suzuki, sped toward the ramp, leaned back, and at that moment, it looked as if time stood still while he performed two full rotations in midair!

An absolutely incredible achievement.[8]

2 Josh Sheehan Performs A Triple Backflip


Nine years after Travis Pastrana stunned the world with his double backflip, Josh Sheehan wanted to push the envelope a little further—by going for three. With the help of none other than Pastrana himself, they built a custom ramp in Travis’s backyard, a ramp tall enough for the bike to gain enough altitude for Sheehan to perform three full rotations.

With nerves of steel and a lot of guts, Sheehan fired his Honda to life and raced toward the ramp. After launching from the ramp, he leaned back, and like something straight from a Hollywood movie scene, things moved in slow motion as he performed the deadly triple backflip. He touched down safely, threw his bike to the side, and held his arms up like he was the king of the world. He was then mobbed in celebration by the Nitro Circus crew.[9]

1 Robbie Madison Jumps On The Vegas Arc De Triomphe And Back Down


Time and time again, Robbie Madison has raised the bar in FMX. In 2005, he set the record for longest jump while performing a trick. In 2008, he broke Trigger Gumm’s long distance record with a jump of 107 meters (351 ft). On New Year’s Eve 2008, Madison raised the bar to impossible heights. In font of 300,000 onlookers, he raced his Yamaha toward a ramp and rocketed ten stories into the air, landing on the 12-meter-wide (40 ft) platform of the Arc de Triomphe at the Paris Las Vegas hotel.

Maddo now had to get back down, and he wasn’t about to take a safe helicopter like some kind of wuss. Instead, he took his bike and simply rode off the side into a 15-meter (50 ft) free fall! Fortunately, there was a ramp waiting for him to land on and roll away safely. He was just as stunned as anyone in the crowd that he pulled off this incredible, daring stunt and lived.[10]

Joshua Courter is an automotive journalist who enjoys writing about cars, hot rods, and drag racing history. On occasion, he has written about baseball, action sports, and music.


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Drinking has always been one of America’s favorite pastimes. Bars, taverns, pubs, and the like have been around since the earliest parts of history. The intersection of various cultures throughout time has led to the exchange of various liquors and recipes all over the world.

This sharing of liquors has led to a cornucopia of craft cocktails and pieces of modern alcoholic artwork. Have you ever stopped to wonder just where your favorite drink comes from? If you are a history buff who loves alcohol, this list is for you.

10 Old Fashioned

For whiskey connoisseurs, this is the ultimate cocktail. A great-tasting, well-balanced cocktail that is essentially a celebration of whiskey on your palate. However, you may not know that this cocktail is not only rich in flavor but also rich in history.

The invention of this alcoholic masterpiece is credited to a barkeep named James E. Pepper in 1880. An article written in 2005 in the Louisville Courier-Journal indicates that Pepper invented the drink in Louisville. Then he took the concoction to New York City, specifically the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar, where it blossomed in popularity. This is credited as the birthplace of the old fashioned.

However, some detractors of this story point to a book written in 1862 by Jerry Thomas as proof that the recipe existed prior to 1880. Although Thomas’s Bartenders Guide: How To Mix Drinks does mention a similar cocktail, it uses gin in lieu of whiskey, thus changing the complexion of the drink.[1]

While the origins of this craft cocktail can be debated, there is no question that it is one of the most popular bar drinks served to this day.

9 Daiquiri

Despite being widely considered “a chick drink,” the daiquiri surprisingly has a manly origin story. Cut to the 17th century when the British and the Spanish aggressively patrolled the seas, hunting pirates and trying desperately to expand their rule.

The sailors of the naval ships battled long journeys with bad weather and seasickness. To help cope with this, the sailors were allotted 3.8 liters (1 gal) of beer per day per man by law.

The problem was that many of these ships were patrolling the Caribbean (with Nassau being a known pirate hot spot) some 7,200 kilometers (4,500 mi) away. Stocking enough beer for a journey that long—let alone restocking it from so far away—posed a great logistical problem.

The solution came in the form of rum. It was decided that 473 milliliters (1 pt) of rum (which was widely available in the Caribbean) was a fair substitute. Unfortunately, the rum was much more potent and the soldiers’ productivity declined drastically because they were really drunk.

In 1740, Naval Admiral Edward “Old Grog” Vernon began diluting the liquor with water in lime juice to help his crew stay more sober. Those ingredients are the base of what became known as the daiquiri.[2]

Technically, Jennings Cox is credited with the invention of the daiquiri. He ran out of gin while hosting guests and used rum as a substitute, calling it the daiquiri after the name of a beach on the island of Cuba. However, that’s far less cool than drunken pirate hunters.

8 Manhattan

Would you believe that this cocktail was invented at a party for Winston Churchill’s mother? Even though this was a popular rumor about the origin of the Manhattan, this theory holds little weight. Lady Randolph Churchill was back in England and already pregnant with Winston at the time this drink rose to prominence.[3]

The Manhattan Club in New York still claims ownership of the original recipe (hence the name). But there are whispers of a man, simply called “Black,” who invented the drink while working at the Hoffman House in New York. While the exact details are up for debate, all experts agree that the Manhattan originated in New York.

7 Martini

The origins of this drink have more theories and plot twists than a James Bond movie. With multiple, unverifiable, competing origin stories, the rule of writing is that the coolest theory always wins out.

So here goes. A gold miner in Martinez, California, struck it rich in the early 1800s and naturally decided to hit the local bar to celebrate. He ordered champagne, but the bar didn’t have anything.

So he said, “Make me the fanciest concoction you can think of.” The bartender threw a few ingredients together in a glass, and the miner loved it. He asked the bartender to tell him what was in it. Then the miner traveled to San Francisco, asked for this drink at another bar, and taught the bartender there how to make it.

Originally known as the “Martinez Special,” the martini was born. Still around today, this alcoholic artistry has become a golden classic.[4]

6 Margarita

The margarita is one popular drink that has three competing theories about its invention.

Margarita Sames was a rich girl from Dallas, Texas. She claimed that she invented the drink while vacationing in Acapulco with her friends in 1948. One of her friends, Tommy Hilton (of the same family that owns the Hilton Hotel chain), was so impressed by the drink that he put it on the hotel bar drink menus.

However, as Jose Cuervo was already an established tequila brand that actively endorsed the margarita starting in 1945, it is highly unlikely that Margarita invented her namesake drink. There are some who swear by this story, though. (Because rich people with power and influence would never lie, of course.)

Another claim is held by Danny Negrete. He supposedly made this cocktail as a wedding gift for his sister-in-law, who also happened to be named Margarita.

Finally, we have Mexican bartender Don Carlos Orozco who reportedly made this drink for the daughter of a German ambassador. She was also named Margarita. It is worth pointing out that there was a similar drink that became highly popular during Prohibition called the Daisy. Coincidentally, margarita is Spanish for “daisy.”[5]

5 Moscow Mule

Just like the Manhattan is from Manhattan, the Moscow mule must be from Moscow, right?

Wrong.[6]

Although the exact origin of the drink is unknown, the owners of the Los Angeles pub Cock ‘n’ Bull brought the drink to popularity in the 1940s. However, in an article published in 2007 in The Wall Street Journal, Wes Price, the head bartender for the Cock ‘n’ Bull, claims that he invented the recipe. Whatever the case, the Moscow mule jump-started the popularity of vodka within the US.

4 Sex On The Beach

The origins of this drink are ironclad. Its terrible name—along with alligators and hurricanes—can be tracked to one place: Florida. A bar called Confetti’s is credited with the invention.[7]

Apparently, one of their bartenders made the fruity drink and thought, “What’s the most ridiculous, basic, noncreative name I can think of for this? Oh, hey look! There’s a couple having sex on the beach! I’ve got it! Sex on the Beach!”

Admittedly, we can’t be sure that’s exactly how it went down, but we are talking about Florida here. So it seems pretty accurate.

3 Cosmopolitan

The cosmo was actually a symbolic drink in the gay community in the 1970s when it was first introduced. The drink is credited to bartender Cheryl Cook, who worked in South Beach. As the story goes, a customer asked her to craft a drink that made him look sophisticated but was sweeter and less harsh than the traditional martini.[8]

The cocktail crafted by Cook became known as the cosmopolitan. At the same time, John Caine, a bartender in Provincetown, had created a similar drink. Caine took the drink with him to San Francisco where it exploded in popularity in the gay social scene.

2 Whiskey Sour

Jerry Thomas’s Bartenders Guide: How To Mix Drinks contained a recipe for this legendary whiskey drink back in 1862. Unlike other cocktails that took a long time to rise to popularity, the whiskey sour has been popular from its birth all the way until . . . well . . . now.[9]

Wisconsin newspaper Waukesha Plaindealer once published an article which referred to the whiskey sour as “a cardinal point in American drinking.” Sometimes, when you make a perfect drink, it stays perfect for over 100 years.

1 Mint Julep

Originally, the mint julep was rumored to be consumed for its medicinal properties. Farmers would drink them in the morning, much like people now drink coffee, for the extra boost to get them going. The mint julep also became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in 1938.

The word “julep” is of Persian heritage. It is derived from the word gulab, which is a Persian sweetened rose water much like the syrup used to make the minty fresh beverage we know today. In Arabic, gulab is known as julab, which became julapium when translated into Latin.[10]

Since julapium syrup was used to make the drink, it worked its way into the name to form what we know today as the “mint julep.” The fact that the liquor of choice for these drinks is bourbon explains the Southern popularity and the prominence that the mint julep has in connection with the world-famous Kentucky Derby.

Eric is a 29-year=old restaurant consultant residing in Maine.


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