You've Been Assembling Your Hard-Shell Tacos All Wrong

ahirao_photo/iStock via Getty Images
ahirao_photo/iStock via Getty Images

They may not be the most traditional Mexican dish, but hard taco shells have become a staple of many families' taco nights. Hard-shell tacos pack the same corn flavor as classic tortillas but with the added crispy crunch of a fried chip. They do, however, have one major drawback: Taco shells crack and break apart easily, making an already messy meal even messier. If you want to keep more of your taco filling in your taco and less of it in your lap, try this food hack spotted by Lifehacker.

Reddit user u/hyteck9 recently suggested a simple-but-brilliant idea for reinforcing the structural integrity of your taco shell using a common topping: When assembling a hard-shell taco, most people start with the meat first, add the veggies second, and then top the whole thing with a sprinkling of shredded cheese.

It may not look as pretty, but you can improve your meal by moving the order around slightly. Before adding anything else, drop the cheese into the bottom of the shell. Now, when you add the ground beef or whatever filling you chose, that cheese will melt and act as a sort of glue for weakest part of the tortilla.

You can also guarantee the cheese gets nice and melty by popping the shell in the oven at 350℉ for a few minutes after applying the cheese. Warming it in the oven has the added effect of making the tortilla more pliable and less brittle, which reduces the chances of it shattering in your hands.

Many common cooking problems can be solved with a quick hack. Here are some more tips and techniques that can improve your kitchen skills.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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.