Why Can’t You Buy Dippin’ Dots in Grocery Stores?

Joel Kramer via Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Joel Kramer via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Since Dippin’ Dots hit the scene in 1988, the unusual ice cream has become a staple in theme parks, malls, and movie theaters. One place you won’t find the futuristic treat (besides space) is at your local grocery store. This isn’t because it lacks a consumer base—most supermarkets just aren’t equipped to store it at such extreme temperatures, Thrillist reports.

The iconic beads of freeze-dried ice cream in every cup of Dippin’ Dots are cryogenically frozen at -320°F. Once the dots are formed, they need to be kept at -40°F in order to maintain their individual shapes. Most standard freezers don’t reach lower than 0°F. At that temperature, the ice cream spheres start to clump together, losing their novelty factor.

Even if a supermarket did have a super-cold freezer that measured up to Dippin’ Dots's standards, most of their customers probably would not. That’s why Dippin’ Dots are designed to be eaten as soon as they’re purchased—unless, of course, you’re willing to shell out the money for dry ice when you order in bulk.

[h/t Thrillist]

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Friday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Digital Projectors, Ugly Christmas Sweaters, and Speakers

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As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 4. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

15 Delicious Facts About Cookies for National Cookie Day

Aneese/iStock via Getty Images
Aneese/iStock via Getty Images

Happy National Cookie Day! Grab some cookies and share some of these fascinating facts about the handheld treats with your favorite fellow cookie lover.

1. Mallomars are only a seasonal item.

Mallomars are a seasonal item—typically only available from September to March. It was a necessity back in 1913, before the advent of refrigerated trucks. Now the limited availability is all about building hype (kind of like McDonald's McRib sandwich).

2. Animal Crackers were designed as a Christmas tree ornament.

bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images

Up until 2018, Barnum's Animal Crackers had a string on the box. Why? It's because they were originally a seasonal treat meant to be hung as an ornament and then eaten on Christmas Day.

3. John Kerry used to own a bakery.

Former Secretary of State (and onetime presidential candidate) John Kerry isn't just a smart cookie. He opened Boston's Kilvert & Forbes Bakeshop in 1976, the same year he started practicing law. Kerry sold the bakery in the mid-'80s, but still enjoys their chocolate chip cookies.

4. The Pillsbury Doughboy has a name.

Andrew Burton, Getty Images

The Pillsbury Doughboy's official name is Poppin' Fresh. He also has a family: Wife Poppie Fresh, son Popper, daughter Bun Bun, a dog named Flapjack, and a cat named Biscuit.

5. Fig Newtons are named after Newton, Massachusetts.

Because the Kennedy Biscuit Works, the company that made Fig Newtons, named their cookies after nearby cities, such as Shrewsbury and Beacon Hill. One name that was never a contender: Cambridgeport, the actual birthplace of the "fruit and cake" cookie.

6. Hydrox cookies came before Oreos.

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Most people assume that Hydrox sandwich cookies are Oreo knock-offs, but it's actually the other way around. Hydrox have been around since 1908. Oreos were invented four years later.

7. Wally Amos, a.k.a. Famous Amos, was the first Black talent agent at William Morris.

How's this for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Amos? Wally Amos was the first Black talent agent at the William Morris agency, where he represented superstars including Simon & Garfunkel, Diana Ross, and Patti LaBelle. He opened the first Famous Amos bakery in 1975 with a loan from Marvin Gaye and Helen Reddy.

8. Pepperidge Farm's most famous cookie was a complete accident.

Mike Mozart via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The Naples was a single vanilla wafer cookie with dark chocolate topping that often melted during shipping. Cookies got stuck together, and the Milano was born.

9. New Mexico has an official state cookie.

In 1989, New Mexico became the first U.S. state with an official cookie—the crispy, buttery, cinnamon-and-anise-flavored bizcochito.

10. Toll House was an inn in Whitman, Massachusetts.

The beloved Toll House chocolate chip cookie was named after the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, owned by Terry and Ruth Wakefield. Around 1938, Ruth put broken pieces of Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate into her cookie batter. While commonly thought to be accidental, modern scholarship indicates that it was a purposeful experiment. The inn's guests loved them ... and so did everyone else. Supposedly, Ruth allowed Nestle to print the recipe in exchange for $1—which she never received. But she got a lifetime supply of chocolate, which is probably better anyway.

11. Graham crackers were invented to curb carnal urges.

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Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham, inventor of the eponymous graham cracker and Graham Diet, claimed that unhealthy carnal urges could be curbed by eating bland foods. Needless to say, he never had s'mores.

12. The brand name Chips Ahoy, founded in 1963, is a play on the nautical phrase "ships ahoy."

But the first well-known use of chips ahoy dates back to 1859 in a series of articles called "The Uncommercial Traveler" by Charles Dickens. Walt Disney made the name even more famous in a 1956 Donald Duck short of the same name.

13. 'C' wasn't always for cookie.

Cookie Monster appeared in a 1969 commercial for Munchos potato crisps before appearing on Sesame Street. Even then, his insatiable appetite for cookies wasn't established until the show's second season.

14. Some cultures don't go for the milk and cookie combo.

Americans love their milk and cookies. But Japanese bars often serve chocolate-coated Pocky sticks in ice water.

15. Girl Scout cookies are baked by Little Brownie Bakers, a subsidiary of Keebler, and ABC Smart Cookies.

Here's how to tell which bakery your cookies came from: Brand name boxes, like Samoas and Tagalongs, come from Little Brownie Bakers. Generic descriptive names, like "Peanut Butter Patties" come from ABC. Thin Mints come from both.

This story has been updated for 2020.