18 Mouthwatering Facts About In-N-Out Burger

Jared721, Flickr // CC BY NA 2.0
Jared721Flickr // CC BY NA 2.0

There's more to the beloved Californian burger chain than Double-Doubles and their secret and not-so-secret menus. We'll bet even you regulars and superfans don't know some of these.

1. IN-N-OUT WAS CREATED BY A COUPLE OF NEWLYWEDS.

Our founders, Harry and Esther Snyder with their sons, Guy and Rich.

A photo posted by In-N-Out Burger (@innout) on

When it opened in October 1948, In-N-Out was California’s first drive-thru hamburger stand; its founders, Harry and Esther Snyder, were newly married. Harry was known to visit the local Baldwin Park markets every morning to pick up fresh ingredients, and Esther was in charge of the accounting.

2. IN-N-OUT REVOLUTIONIZED FAST FOOD.

In-N-Out is credited as the first chain to have a two-way speaker system for drive-thru ordering. The forward-thinking Harry installed the intercom system in 1948 so that you truly could get "in and out" of his tiny hamburger shack in a hurry. Until that point, drive-ins with carhops who took your order and delivered your food were the norm.

3. THAT YELLOW ARROW WASN'T ALWAYS THERE.

Our original "No Delay" sign.

A photo posted by In-N-Out Burger (@innout) on

The iconic large yellow arrow on the logo first appeared in 1954, replacing the original “No Delay” sign.

4. THEY DIDN'T SERVE FOUNTAIN SODA FOR THE FIRST DECADE. 

In 1958, the company added fountain soda to the menu, replacing the bottles they had been selling for a decade. A 12-ounce drink was only 10 cents, and you could actually choose between Coke and Pepsi in the same location!

5. 'X' ACTUALLY MARKS THE SPOT.

Matt Northam, Flickr // CC BY NC ND 2.0

In 1972, Harry Snyder introduced the crossed palm trees that stand outside most In-N-Out locations. The idea came from the 1963 movie It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, where the characters hunt for a buried treasure hidden beneath four crossed palms.

6. THE COMPANY HAS A LONG ASSOCIATION WITH DRAG RACING.

From Harry Snyder's 50 percent investment in a new track in Irwindale in 1965 (where his burgers were sold in the concession stands) to Harry and Esther’s only grandchild (and heiress) Lynsi Snyder’s occasional trips out on the track, In-N-Out is a mainstay name around drag racing. According to the National Hot Rod Association, Lynsi has competed in the Super Gas and Top Sportsman Division 7 categories. "I like an adrenaline rush," Lynsi said last year. "My dad took me to the racetrack for the first time when I was 2 or 3. … Anything with a motor, that was in my blood." Lynsi, who has taken auto mechanic classes, often works on her own cars. 

7. IN-N-OUT EVEN HAD A CAR.

 J. Michael Raby, Flickr // CC-NC-ND 2.0

The company sponsored drag racer Melanie Troxel in 2010.

8. IN-N-OUT HAS ITS OWN "UNIVERSITY."

Don Barrett, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Established in 1984, the university’s classes aimed to train service staff and managers on how to maintain quality across the board. According to Bloomberg Business, roughly 80 percent of the chain’s store managers rose through the ranks to become career team members.

9. "LOVE WALKS IN" AN IN-N-OUT.

Getty Images

Van Halen’s chart-topping 1986 album 5150 was fueled by In-N-Out burgers. "When I first joined the band, we must have eaten there at least three days a week," Sammy Hagar told Stacy Perman for her 2009 book In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules. "We were in the studio recording 5150, and we'd send someone to go get food, and we'd talk about sushi or pizza and always end up with In-N-Out."

10. MANY CELEBS LOVE IN-N-OUT.

Speaking of famous fans, high-brow chef Julia Child once told Larry King that In-N-Out was "awfully good," and she reportedly kept a list of store locations in her purse. And, famously, Paris Hilton explained away a DUI arrest in 2006 by telling Ryan Seacrest, "I was just really hungry and I wanted to have an In-N-Out burger!"

11. THEIR JINGLE IS SUPER CATCHY.

You can even get an In-N-Out Burger ringtone

12. THERE ARE HIDDEN BIBLE VERSES ON THEIR PACKAGING.

BonzoESC, Flickr // CC NC 2.0

The chain discretely prints Bible verses on the bottom of their cups and wrappers, though they’ve never discussed the inclusion publicly. The Snyders' son Rich, who ran the company after Harry’s death, began the practice in the late ‘80s, telling the company’s spokesman "It’s just something I want to do."

Around Christmas 1991, Snyder, a born-again Christian, aired a radio ad that said, "Ask Jesus to come and live in your heart today. Choose life by choosing Jesus. In-N-Out Burger wishes you a full and abundant life forever." The company took some flak for the ad.

13. LYNSI DOESN'T DISCUSS HER PERSONAL LIFE BECAUSE SHE'S WORRIED ABOUT OUTSIDE THREATS.

The In-N-Out president and heiress says she’s almost been kidnapped twice.

14. ALL OF THE IN-N-OUT HEIRS WORKED IN THE BACK.

Rich and Guy Snyder

A photo posted by In-N-Out Burger (@innout) on

Harry and Esther made their two sons, Guy and Rich, do entry-level work so that they wouldn't be spoiled. And even though she would own the company by the time she was 24, Guy's daughter Lynsi’s first job at In-N-Out was in the kitchen at a new store in Redding. "She started out like everyone else in prep work, coring tomatoes, peeling potatoes, and slicing onions," Orange Coast Magazine reported last year. "'Of course, I would cry every time,' she recalls with a laugh. Nevertheless, 'I was really excited to work there, because it was the family business. It was fun, and I thought it would make my dad happy.'"

15. IN-N-OUT HAS MADE A LOT OF MONEY.

Lynsi is potentially America’s youngest female billionaire (emphasis on potentially). But even if she’s not an actual billionaire yet, she might get there when she inherits full control of the company’s trusts when she turns 35.

16. HARRY WAS ON ATKINS BEFORE IT WAS A THING.

Neeta Lind via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The "protein burger" on the Secret Menu is just the meat wrapped in lettuce, but it’s not a fad addition. Back in the ‘70s, Harry Snyder began ditching the bun because he was dieting. "Some people think that the protein burger came about recently because of all the Atkins dieters," general manager Carl Van Fleet said in 2004, "but it’s been around since the late 1970s."

17. IN-N-OUT ISN'T ABOUT TO START CHANGING ITS MENU.

cormac70, Flickr // CC BY NC-ND-2.0

Once in a generation, something new might officially be added to the menu. The only item Lynsi has added is sweet tea—and that's only in the newer Texas locations. The only other major menu addition of the past two decades? They started serving Dr. Pepper in 1996.

18. THE EAST COAST IS JUST NEVER GOING TO GET AN IN-N-OUT

In 2010, College Humor played a mean April Fools’ prank on New Yorkers by convincing passersby that In-N-Out was opening a location in the city. But because the company has such strict quality-control measures, they have a policy of not opening restaurants further than 500 miles from their in-house commissaries.

6 Tasty Facts About Scrapple

Kate Hopkins, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Kate Hopkins, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Love it or hate it, scrapple is a way of life—especially if you grew up in Pennsylvania or another Mid-Atlantic state like New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, or Virginia. And this (typically) pork-filled pudding isn’t going anywhere. While its popularity in America dates back more than 150 years, the dish itself is believed to have originated in pre-Roman times. In celebration of National Scrapple Day, here’s everything you ever—or never—wanted to know about the dish.

1. Scrapple is typically made of pig parts. Lots and lots of pig parts.

Though every scrapple manufacturer has its own particular recipe, it all boils down to the same basic process—literally: boiling up a bunch of pig scraps (yes, the parts you don’t want to know are in there) to create a stock which is then mixed with cornmeal, flour, and a handful of spices to create a slurry. Once the consistency is right, chopped pig parts are added in and the mixture is turned into a loaf and baked.

As the dish has gained popularity, chefs have put their own unique spins on it, adding in different meats and spices to play with the flavor. New York City’s Ivan Ramen even cooked it up waffle-style.

2. People were eating scrapple long before it made its way to America.

People often think that the word scrapple derives from scraps, and it’s easy to understand why. But it’s actually an Americanized derivation of panhaskröppel, a German word meaning "slice of rabbit." Much like its modern-day counterpart, skröppel—which dates back to pre-Roman times—was a dish that was designed to make use of every part of its protein (in this case, a rabbit). It was brought to America in the 17th and 18th centuries by German colonists who settled in the Philadelphia area.

In 1863, the first mass-produced version of scrapple arrived via Habbersett, which is still making the product today. They haven’t tweaked the recipe much in the past 150-plus years, though they do offer a beef version as well.

3. If your scrapple is gray, you're a-ok.

A dull gray isn’t normally the most appetizing color you’d want in a meat product, but that’s the color a proper piece of scrapple should be. (It is typically pork bits, after all.)

4. Scrapple can be topped with all kinds of goodies.

Though there’s no rule that says you can’t enjoy a delicious piece of scrapple at any time of day, it’s considered a breakfast meat. As such, it’s often served with (or over) eggs but can be topped with all sorts of condiments; while some people stick with ketchup or jelly, others go wild with applesauce, mustard, maple syrup, and honey to make the most of the sweet-and-salty flavor combo. There’s also nothing wrong with being a scrapple purist and eating it as is.

5. Dogfish Head made a scrapple beer.

The master brewers at Delaware’s Dogfish Head have never been afraid to get experimental with their flavors. In 2014, they created a Beer for Breakfast Stout that was brewed with Rapa pork scrapple. A representative for the scrapple brand called the collaboration a "unique proposition." Indeed.

6. Delaware holds an annual scrapple festival each October.

Speaking of Delaware: It’s also home to the country’s oldest—and largest—annual scrapple festival. Originating in 1992, the Apple Scrapple Festival in Bridgeville, Delaware is a yearly celebration of all things pig parts, which includes events like a ladies skillet toss and a scrapple chunkin’ contest. More than 25,000 attendees make the trek annually.

What's the Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes?

Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock via Getty Images
Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock via Getty Images

This Thanksgiving, families across the country will enjoy a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes ... or are they yams? Discussions on the proper name for the orange starchy stuff on your table can get more heated than arguments about topping them with marshmallows. But there's an easy way to tell the difference between sweet potatoes and yams: If you picked up the tuber from a typical American grocery store, it's probably a sweet potato.

So what's a sweet potato?

Sweet potato and yam aren't just different names for the same thing: The two produce items belong to their own separate botanical categories. Sweet potatoes are members of the morning glory family. Regular potatoes like russets, meanwhile, are considered part of the nightshade family, which means that sweet potatoes aren't actually potatoes at all.

Almost all of the foods most Americans think of as yams are really sweet potatoes. The root vegetable typically has brown or reddish skin with a starchy inside that's orange (though it can also be white or purple). It's sold in most supermarkets in the country and used to make sweet potato fries, sweet potato pie, and the sweet potato casserole you have at Thanksgiving.

Then what's a yam?

Yams.
Yams.
bonchan/iStock via Getty Images

Yams are a different beast altogether. They are more closely related to lilies and grasses and mostly grow in tropical environments. The skin is more rough and bark-like than what you'd see on a sweet potato, and the inside is usually white or yellowish—not orange.

They're a common ingredient in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Because the inside of a yam is less moist than the inside of a sweet potato, they require more fat to make them soft and creamy. They're also less sweet than their orange-hued counterparts. In many regions in the U.S., yams aren't sold outside of international grocery stores.

Where did the mix-up come from?

Also sweet potatoes.
Also sweet potatoes.
Kateryna Bibro/iStock via Getty Images

So if yams and sweet potatoes are two totally different vegetables that don't look or taste that similar, why are their names used interchangeably in the U.S.? You can blame the food industry. For years, "firm" sweet potatoes, which have brown skin and whitish flesh, were the only sweet potatoes grown in the U.S. In the early 20th century, "soft" sweet potatoes, which have reddish skin and deep-orange flesh, entered the scene. Farmers needed a way to distinguish the two varieties, so soft sweet potatoes became yams.

Nearly a century later, the misnomer shows no signs of disappearing. Many American supermarkets still call their orange-fleshed sweet potatoes yams and their white-fleshed ones sweet potatoes, even though both items are sweet potatoes. But this isn't a strict rule, and stores often swap the names and make things even more confusing for shoppers. So the next time you're shopping for a recipe that calls for sweet potatoes, learn to identify them by sight rather than the name on the label.

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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