Author Archives: janellejimc

Gum… In & out in less than 7 years

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As I was watching a movie this weekend (no, it wasn’t Sponge Bob), one of the characters accidentally swallowed his gum. He then said that the gum was going to stay in his digestive system for 7 years. This of course made me wonder if gum can stay in your system for that long.

The answer is no! It is a popular misconception that gum can stay in your stomach for 7 years before it is digested.

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As it turns out, gum passes through the digestive system relatively intact (simple explanation). This means it is not being digested because our bodies cannot do so; it just passes from one end to the other.

Reason for this is because of the things that gum is made of, gum resin (whether natural or synthetic materials, preservatives, etc) our bodies just cannot digest it, it cannot break it down. Therefore our bodies just move gum along the digestive system until it comes out in a trip to the bathroom (simple, detailed explanation).

It is dangerous, however, when large amounts of gum are swallowed (or are being swallowed constantly) because they can get stuck in the small intestine, especially causing problems in kids or if the person suffers from constipation. If you swallowed a piece of gum in a rare, accidental occasion, you shouldn’t have major problems, it will come out. Just, don’t make it a habit of swallowing gum!

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Le Coeur de la Mer

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Attracted to anything that shines, I could not help but wonder what the real story of “Le Coeur de la Mer” (The Heart of the Ocean) was.

As explained in the movie Titanic, directed by James Cameron (Titanic FAQs), Cal gave Rose the necklace as a token of his love. The necklace was supposedly owned by Louis the XVI before he was beheaded during the French Revolution and later on cut into the shape of a heart. The story itself is pure fiction, but the idea of the necklace was inspired in a real one, the Hope Diamond.

Nonetheless, I was amazed to have found a story similar to that of the movie Titanic involving a diamond necklace. As it turns out, there was a couple on board of the ship who were traveling to America to begin a new life together. Kate Florence Phillips and Henry Samuel Morley were on board, traveling as second class passengers under the names of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall. She was an assistant who worked for him in one of his confectionary shops, as well as his lover. Morley had given her a diamond and sapphire necklace, not entirely like the one in the move, but undoubtedly as lovely. However, he was not fortunate enough to have survived the night the ship sank but she was, wearing the necklace that same night. Long story short, she was rescued, had to go back to England, had a daughter, and continued life. For the full story and to find out what happened to the necklace, click here.

And, for an additional story on the necklace, click here.

Listen what happened to Van Gogh’s Ear

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Vincent Van Gogh, a famous Dutch painter, not only known for his paintings but also for cutting off his ear. However, not many people know what led him to cut off his ear, or even if he did it himself.

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He had moved to a yellow house in Arles (in the south of France) with hopes of creating a place where artists would meet to talk, paint, and share artistic ideas. He befriended Paul Gauguin, and together in Arles they painted. However, things became more and more complicated between them, up to a point where Gauguin thought of moving to Paris and leaving Van Gogh and the yellow house.

The traditional story goes that on the night of December 23, 1888, the two men got into a very heated argument, and after it, Gauguin went for a walk. He heard Van Gogh approaching outside of the house, and as he turned, Gauguin saw him with a razor in hand. However, Van Gogh stopped and returned home, and Gauguin went along with his walk. Supposedly that night, Van Gogh cut off part of his left ear because the news of his friend had devastated him. He was so upset for ruining his friendship that he wanted to punish himself, hence the cutting of part of his ear. For this full detailed story, visit Van Gogh Gallery.

On the contrary, two German historians argue that that is not what happened. According to them (click for the detailed alternative story), the real version of what happened that night is that Gauguin was the one who injured Van Gogh, and not Van Gogh inflicting the injury upon himself. They argue that the reason of why it is not popularly known is because the men had a pact of silence and that they made up the widely known story as a means to protect each other, especially to protect Gauguin since Van Gogh was very fond of his friend.

 It really is hard to say what happened, since there is substantial evidence to support both cases, but you can decide what to believe.

Here is a link to a newspaper reporting on the story a couple of days after it happened.

And here is a story from abcNEWS with some more interesting facts about the alternative story.

Why is the White House White?

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During the war of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain, the president’s house was taken over and burnt by the British on 1814. At that time, James Madison was the president and was residing there; however he had left to a safer place. The house was completely damaged, and Madison brought James Hoban (the architect who designed the house) to restore it. It was during the reconstruction that the house was painted white. Something worth noting is that the house was first made white with lime-based whitewash (Whitehousehistory.org).

Although the term “White House” was used for some time, President Theodore Roosevelt was the one who gave the White House its official name. But there really is no specific reason on why the house was painted white. However, I think it was because the house just looked better painted white to make it look pristine and neat and they decided to keep it that way.

Is the toast French?

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When I asked my French professor if French toast was really from France she piqued my interest by saying… “Mmm Noou”.

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http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Breakfast-Brunch/Quick-and-Easy-French-Toast

As I did some research, I found out that the recipe for it dates back to ancient Rome. Romans would soak slices of bread in a mixture of milk and eggs and then they would fry the slices in oil or butter (which is how it is most typically done today). It was done with the sole intention as to not waste food, finding a use for stale bread. It is also suggested that the wealthy used white bread (the finest at the time) as well as some spices and the like in the mixture. The recipe became popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, and today, it is well known around the world.

French toast itself is called “pain perdu” in France, literally meaning lost bread. And even before it was called “pain perdu” in France it was called “pain a la Romaine” (Roman bread).

There are several theories as to why French toast is called French toast. Maybe the name came to be because it was popularized in America by French immigrants. Or maybe it was because the recipe was adopted from France and we attribute it to the French.

It is hard to say exactly why it is called French toast, as it is even called different names around the world (eggy bread, gypsy toast, poor knights). However, one thing is for sure: many of us enjoy it and we thank whoever came up with the idea!

Here are some additional facts about French toast…

http://www.willjogforfood.com/2012/02/food-fact-friday-french-toast.html

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/11/french-toast-was-not-invented-in-france/