16 Food Questions You Never Thought to Ask

You can never have too many food facts.

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close up of rows of oreos and one oreo on top
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Are Oreos Vegan?

Not technically. You can follow a plant-based diet and enjoy all kinds of vegan snacks. But unfortunately, you will have to pass on Oreos. According to the brand, the beloved chocolate sandwich cookies “have milk as cross-contact,” so they aren’t 100% vegan, even though none of the ingredients are animal-based. That makes Oreos one of the foods you shouldn’t serve a vegan.

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full frame of froot loop Cereal
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Are All Fruit Loops the Same Flavor?

Nope. Scoop up a spoonful of Froot Loops and you’ll taste one burst of crunchy, fruity flavor. It’s easy to assume that the red cereal is cherry, the yellow cereal is lemon, the green cereal is lime, etc. But that isn’t the case. Kellogg’s once admitted that the tiny circles are all one flavor: Froot.

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Full Frame of Texture, close up of strawberries
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Are Strawberries Berries?

Not technically. The word’s scientific definition means a berry must have an outer skin, a fleshy middle and seeds on the inside, not the outside. So strawberries don’t make the cut—but watermelons and bananas do!

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close up of stalks of rhubarb
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Can You Hear Rhubarb Grow?

Yes! Rhubarb has the ability to grow as much as one inch per day, a rate so fast that you can hear it creak and pop as it gets bigger. Scientists say that growing forced rhubarb makes it sweeter, which is why the plant stars in so many of our spring recipes.

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row of Heinz Tomato Ketchup on a shelf
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Why Do You Hit the 57 on Heinz Ketchup?

It helps the ketchup flow. If you’re sick of thick, goopy ketchup, there’s a simple solution: hit the Heinz 57. Shaking ketchup turns round tomato particles into a thinner shape, making it 1,000 times runnier and the perfect consistency for squirting onto fries, burgers and all your favorite meals.

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full frame of ripe sliced bananas
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Why Doesn’t Banana Flavor Taste Like Bananas?

Have you ever bitten into a banana-flavored candy, only to notice that it doesn’t taste like the real thing? You’re not alone. There’s a theory that banana flavoring was based on the extinct Gros Michel variety of banana, though since it’s no longer commercially grown, we’ll never know.

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Full Frame Shot Of Garlic In Market
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Can You Taste Garlic with Your Feet?

Kind of. Garlic’s pungent smell can be attributed to a chemical called allicin. This is so powerful that it can be absorbed through your skin and into your bloodstream, reaching all the way up to your mouth and nose, where you’ll feel like you’re “tasting” it. But, if you’d rather eat it, here are our best tips for roasting garlic.

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three mountain dew cans close up
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What Flavor Is Mountain Dew?

People who love Mountain Dew really love Mountain Dew. But trying to describe it to those who haven’t tasted the beverage is no easy feat. It’s citrusy, primarily lemon and lime flavors with a hint of orange, some fans say. Here’s another fun fact you may not have known about Mountain Dew: It’s the most popular regional soda in West Virginia.

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stacks of nutella in a grocery store

What Is Nutella Made Of?

It’s made with hazelnuts, sugar and cocoa. During the unusually small hazelnut crop of 2014, the world was nearly faced with a horrifying result: a Nutella shortage. That’s because Nutella consumes a considerable percentage of the world’s hazelnut crop. Each jar contains about 50 hazelnuts! Use the spread wisely in these chocolaty Nutella desserts.

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White chocolate chunks
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Is White Chocolate Actually Chocolate?

Despite its name, white chocolate doesn’t contain any chocolate solids. Instead, it’s a mix of sugar, cocoa butter, milk products, vanilla and lecithin. Here’s another food fact: All true chocolate is derived from cocoa beans, which are made into chocolate nibs, and further refined into chocolate liqueur.

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top view of mixing bowl of pumpkin batter
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What Is Canned Pumpkin Made Of?

When you go to bake homemade pumpkin pie, the first ingredient you reach for is canned pumpkin. But what exactly is that orange puree you scoop into your mixing bowl? Libby’s, one of the most popular canned pumpkin brands, uses Dickinson squash, which is similar to butternut squash.

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cracked raw egg in bowl to show stringy white thing in egg
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What Is That Stringy White Stuff in Eggs?

If you’ve ever cracked open an egg and noticed that stringy white stuff hanging from the yolk, you aren’t alone—but you shouldn’t be worried. It’s the chalaza, which is a very normal part of the egg. Made of protein, its purpose is to attach the yolk to the shell, protecting and holding the yolk in the center of the egg. You can remove it, but it’s perfectly safe to eat!

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Close-up of chocolate cakes and chocolate with shavings on top
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Is German Chocolate Cake Actually German?

No. This decadent dessert has fudgy layers and a coconut-covered exterior. But don’t let the name fool you—German chocolate cake is an American invention. The moniker came from the cake’s founder, a man by the name of Sam German. Originally “German’s chocolate cake,” the name eventually lost the apostrophe. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, try one of our German chocolate recipes.

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bakers dozen of Various sorts of bread, close-up
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Why Are There 13 in a Baker’s Dozen?

It started back in the 1200s. Bakers in medieval England were notorious for cheating customers out of bread. As a result, King Henry III passed a law that anyone who sold underweight bread could be thrown in jail. Thus, scared bakers started adding an extra loaf to their orders just to be safe. Hence, the baker’s dozen was born.

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decorated Birthday Cake top with balloons and 'happy birthday' message
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Why Do We Eat Cake on Birthdays?

It’s hardly a birthday party without a cake (after all, there are too many delicious birthday cake recipes not to make one). While there are reports that cake-baking and birthday celebrations began with the Greeks and Romans, many experts agree that the tradition of eating cake on your birthday likely started in Germany in the 1400s. Parents worried that children were vulnerable to demons and spirits on their birthdays, so they would bake cakes and add candles for the child’s age plus an extra year as a wish that their child would live another 365 days.

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full frame of assorted glazed donut with different kinds of frosting
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Why Are Doughnuts Called ‘Doughnuts?’

It dates back to the 19th century, when Elizabeth Gregory, the mother of a New England ship captain, fried dough to send to sea with her son. She added walnuts in the center and hence, the name “doughnut” was born. You can make your own at home by following one of our best doughnut recipes.

Megan Mowery
As Senior Shopping Editor, Megan is an expert at helping Taste of Home readers find products that will improve their lives. She covers anything from must-buy Amazon products to tried-and-tested product reviews. You can usually find her online shopping, learning a new craft, or caring for her jungle of plants.