Food Myths

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How Do You Eat Tacos Without Them Falling Apart?

It seems confoundingly difficult to eat a crunchy taco without the shell breaking and the taco falling apart as you eat it. Have you ever been tempted to ask a native Mexican how in the world you were supposed to eat a taco without the shell falling apart and the fillings falling out all over the place? Good thing you didn't because he would have thought you were off your rocker.

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Poison Blue Grapefruits

In 1988, a rumor started spreading in Italy about poisonous grapefruits entering Italy from Israel. The grapefruits were said to have a bluish stain on them. The press reported that, in an act of terrorism, the Israeli grapefruits had been injected with a blue poison. As the story went on, many details were added.

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Does Microwaving Food Kill All The Bacteria?

It is easy to see why people would think that cooking food in the microwave kills all the bacteria. It comes from the misconception that microwaving 'irradiates' food and so destroys any bacteria, along with all the nutrients.

It is not true at all. The fact is, as you can learn from this article about microwaves cooking food from the inside out, it is heat that cooks your food in the microwave. If the food doesn't get hot enough to kill all the bacteria, contaminated chicken, meat, or any other food could still make you sick.

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Is Heavy Cream Not the Same as Whipping Cream?

You go to one source, you read that heavy cream and whipping cream are the same. You go to another, and you find that heavy cream and whipping cream are not actually the same. What gives? Why the inconsistent information? Is it really that hard to determine the difference?

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Can You Deep Fry With Olive Oil?

Have you heard? You can't deep fry with olive oil! Its smoking point is too low and it becomes bitter, etc. Funny that people in the Mediterranean regions, who know a lot more than us about olive oil, deep fry more often with olive oil than any other oil. In other words, what you've heard is bunk. You absolutely can deep fry with olive oil. Mario Batali has been seen doing it more than once on television. Since people are always looking for a healthy oil for deep frying, and Olive oil is among the healthiest oils, its a shame this myth has existed.

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Is it True That Spaghetti is Done When It Sticks to the Wall?

Many cookbooks, articles, and even cooking show episodes will tell you that the best way to test whether spaghetti (or another pasta) is done, is to throw it at the wall. If it sticks, it's done. Is this a good indicator of the doneness of pasta?

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Are The Onions In White Castle Burgers Really Cabbage Pieces Soaked in Onion Juice?

An internet rumor states that the onions in White Castle burgers are not really onions at all. Instead, they are little pieces of cabbage that have been soaked in onion juice. Could this rumor be true?

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Do McDonald’s Hamburgers Really Never Rot?

I don't know how long this fast-food myth has been making the rounds, but it has been around quite a few years. The idea that certain commercial food products never spoil is a common one, and with the kind of shelf life we see in packaged foods, and the preservatives that are used, I can see why. People have believed that Twinkies never go bad for a long time. Even though hamburgers are not packaged foods, we don't know what may be in fast food, and a lot of people consider it to be more "laboratory food" than real food. You have to wonder.

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Mountain Dew and Birth Control

Sometime in the 1990's, rumors began circulating that Mountain Dew had some helpful or dangerous effects on your reproductive health, depending on which rumor you heard, and your perspective when you heard them. The main claim was that Mountain Dew was an effective contraceptive. All you had to do was drink it before having sex, and not pregnancy would occur.

It is almost certain that these general rumors led to belief that Mountain Dew could have the same effect whether consumed by the male, or female, but most of the specific effects claimed, regarded males, and concerned either birth control, if you're a glass half-full kind of person, or impotence, if you're of the glass half-empty persuasion. No matter what the specifics though, the rumors were believed by many teenagers, and by 1999, this information was being pass from teen to teen: "Mountain Dew is good birth control." No condemn needed!

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Snakes in McDonald's Ball Pit: Is Playland Deadly?

Beginning around 1993, there began an email, and a grapevine rumor, that a child had been playing in the ball pit at a McDonald's Playland, and had been bitten by a poisonous snake that had taken up residence among the balls. Sometimes, the ball pit was said to be at a play area at a Burger King restaurant. Carl's Jr. has also been cited as the location.

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Was Humphrey Bogart the Model for the Gerber Baby?

Here is how it usually goes: Did you know that the Gerber Baby is actually a picture of Humphrey Bogart (or one of several other celebrities) when he was a baby? His mother drew it! Now that is fascinating. Humphrey Bogart is like the quintessential tough-guy, and he is the Gerber baby. Wow! His mother was a commercial artist. It makes sense. She got the job to design the Gerber trademark icon, and she just happened to have a model on hand: Little Humphrey!

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Small Amount of Kobe Beef Available In U.S. - Most Menu Claims of Kobe Still LIES

The other day I was watching the Las Vegas episode of Food Network Star and one of the contestants, Loreal, went to Le Burger Brasserie and was served, of all thinks, a Kobe beef burger. I was a bit flabbergasted. You have to be one hell of a lying liar to claim Kobe beef on a menu and then claim you made it into a burger! Why? Because, since at least 2009 Kobe beef has not been available in the U.S. due to a ban on ALL Japanese beef into the US. Most restaurants claiming to have Kobe beef were lying. Pure and simple. Kobe beef comes from Japan. We have no beef from Japan. Or do we? Did something change?

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Food, Pigeons, and Us: Learned Superstitions

Humans beings have brains that are tailor-made for superstitious beliefs. That is the kind of statement you will often hear in regards to human superstitions involving food, or anything else. Well, it's not really an accurate statement, as it seems to imply that a certain high-level intelligence is needed to form superstitions. What if I told you that pigeons can form superstitions too? In fact, they can be induced to form superstitions concerning food, just as we can. It is called learned superstition. If you live in any large city, you are quite familiar with pigeons. I think it is safe to say that, while they are not highly intelligent, they are, as we are, highly adaptable survivors. And, they can believe weird things, just as we can.

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Alcohol Doesn't Completely Burn Off During Cooking: Exaggerating the Truth!

I have a secret for you: Many blogs and websites purposely exaggerate facts, and hide certain very important aspects of a subject, in order to make their posts more exciting, provocative, etc. The idea is not for you to actually learn the facts, but to be "shocked" into sharing the article. This happens with cooking myths all the time, especially when they are based on what passes as common knowledge. It is common knowledge, for example, that when you put alcohol into a cooked dish, the alcohol "burns off" completely, through heat evaporation, so that no alcohol is left in the dish.

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Spices Were Used to Mask the Taste of Bad Meat in the Middle Ages Through the Renaissance

It has long been claimed that one of the chief use of spices in the Middle Ages or "Medieval Period" in Europe was to cover the taste of spoiled meat. This claim, without further examination, could make some sense. People were poor and without access to fresh meat, nor a means of preservation. The strong smell and flavor of many spices, if applied liberally, could cover the tainted taste of meat that was past its prime, which, if cooked thoroughly, could be eaten safely.

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© 2016 by Eric Troy and CulinaryLore. All Rights Reserved. Please contact for permissions.