The Strange Recipe Behind 'Bubble Gum Flavor'


You can thank Fleer Chewing Gum Company accountant Walter Diemer for stumbling across one of the major milestones in gum development—twice. In 1928, Diemer pioneered a more flexible gum consistency that allowed chewers to blow bubbles. He lost the recipe, though, and took four months to piece it back together.

Ever since, gum aficionados have enjoyed bubble gum. Part of the appeal is simple: It’s an amusement device, like having a chewable balloon. The other part is taste. But it can be tricky to describe the flavor of bubble gum. What exactly are we tasting when we reach for a pack of original flavor Double Bubble or Bazooka gum?

Spoon University recently tackled the question. When we opt for bubble gum that isn’t advertised as having a specific taste, we’re probably going to get something that’s a blend of artificial flavors like banana, cherry, and strawberry. There might also be hints of orange, lemon, or cinnamon. The flavors combine to give the gum its unique profile. Gum companies typically use esters, flavoring chemicals that help mimic tastes by smelling like fruit. And no two profiles are alike; gum companies tweak the recipe depending on what they want out of their gum portfolio.

That’s why it can be difficult to articulate bubble gum’s flavor: It’s nothing that occurs naturally, and sticking "banana-lemon-cherry" on the wrapper would just confuse consumers. Putting “amyl acetate”—the chemical responsible for giving food a banana-type taste—doesn’t look so appealing, either. So we're left with "bubble gum": hard to define, but much easier to chew.

[h/t Spoon University]

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

A Short, Sweet History of Candy Corn

Love it or hate it, candy corn is here to stay.
Love it or hate it, candy corn is here to stay.
Evan-Amos, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Depending on which survey you happen to be looking at, candy corn is either the best or the worst Halloween candy ever created. If that proves anything, it’s that the tricolor treat is extremely polarizing. But whether you consider candy corn a confectionery abomination or the sweetest part of the spooky season, you can’t deny that it’s an integral part of the holiday—and it’s been around for nearly 150 years.

On this episode of Food History, Mental Floss’s Justin Dodd is tracing candy corn’s long, storied existence all the way back to the 1880s, when confectioner George Renninger started molding buttercream into different shapes—including corn kernels, which he tossed at actual chickens to see if it would fool them. His white-, orange-, and yellow-striped snack eventually caught the attention of Goelitz Confectionery Company (now Jelly Belly), which started mass-producing what was then sometimes called “chicken feed” rather than “candy corn.”

But what exactly is candy corn? Why do we associate it with Halloween? And will it ever disappear? Find answers to these questions and more in the video below.

For more fascinating food history and other videos, subscribe to the Mental Floss YouTube channel here.