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Hunting with Dad

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Postal service in my neighborhood isn't very consistent, so it can make for some interesting deliveries. The other day, a neighbor two blocks over walked to my door to personally re-direct a newsletter she also receives. It was touching, and perhaps something that would only happen in a small town or at least on the West Coast.

And just yesterday I arrived home to see the February issue of Field & Stream on the kitchen table, and was saddened a little to realize it was merely mis-delivered & if I were a good neighbor I'd head right back out the door and return. Which I did, but not before sitting down to read a cute FOB section in which readers submitted pictures of their sons tagging along for the hunt. Took me back to my rural roots, where a good third of school kids had November 15th off for the first day of deer season, and the best parties always seemed to happen at someone's deer camp. But thankfully that whole experience has been streamlined into "Dear Camp: the Musical." I'm told I went pheasant hunting when I was three, but ended up sabotaging everything when I insisted on charging the pheasants, shrieking to my dad & co. for back-up. Were any of you ever recruited for hunts w/your fathers or others?

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Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
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While you’re browsing the ice cream aisle, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s so French about French vanilla?” The name may sound a little fancier than just plain ol’ “vanilla,” but it has nothing to do with the origin of the vanilla itself. (Vanilla is a tropical plant that grows near the equator.)

The difference comes down to eggs, as The Kitchn explains. You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered in 2010—when Baskin-Robbins decided to eliminate French Vanilla from its ice cream lineup—ice cream industry consultant Bruce Tharp noted that French vanilla ice cream may date back to at least colonial times, when Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both used ice cream recipes that included egg yolks.

Jefferson likely acquired his taste for ice cream during the time he spent in France, and served it to his White House guests several times. His family’s ice cream recipe—which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream—seems to have originated with his French butler.

But everyone already knew to trust the French with their dairy products, right?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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science
Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
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Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

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