As many of us sit through another cold, wet winter, it’s only natural to find ourselves daydreaming about hot, dry, sandy places. Sure, snowboarding is epic – but isn’t it great to get the same kind of fun sensation, minus the bitter cold and 10 layers of clothes? That’s what sandboarding is here for.
Although temperatures may vary, there are some places around the world where smooth surfaces of sand stay in their fluffy piles all year. If you’re ready to adventure your way to one, here are the best ones to check out:
1. Huacachina, Peru
What doesn’t Peru have? Alongside snow-capped peaks, shimmering lakes, breathtaking beaches and random llamas everywhere, it also has the second tallest sand dunes in the world – just hanging out in the tiny Ica Desert village of Huacachina.
Bring a camera for the epic views from the top of the dunes, where you can see an extraordinary green lagoon with palm trees on all sides is quite spectacular. For really stunning photos, schedule your sandboarding session closer to sunset.
2. Te Paki Recreation Reserve, New Zealand
After a 5-hour drive out of Auckland, you can reach Te Paki Recreation Reserve – one of the most diverse ecosystems in New Zealand. Near the end of the peninsula and past all the sheep pastures on the north side of Kaitaia, visitors can climb to the top of Te Paki’s dunes. Plus, down at the bottom, there are equally awesome opportunities to fish, surf, swim, and snorkel.
3. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Sand dunes might not be what most people picture in Colorado, but four hours from Denver, you can find the tallest ones in the U.S. at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and its golden prairies – surrounded by picturesque views of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which reach an impressive 13,000 feet.
4. Atacama Desert, Chile
Ready for the driest desert on earth? In the Atacama Desert, you can take a 3.5-hour sandboarding tour. And a bonus? The red-rock formations of the Salt Mountains that make for an incredible backdrop all the while.
5. Death Valley National Park, California Sand dunes make up about 1 percent of Death Valley National Park, and they’re called the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. They have an easy trek upward of about 100 feet. And to boot, the other 3.4 million acres of the park consist of extraordinarily unique terrain worth exploring.
40+ (Legit Interesting) Food Facts That We Can’t Stop Thinking About
Everyone has seen the images of the men on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, taking the first steps on the moon. It marked an amazing advancement in science.
However, these men also had the chance to enjoy a meal on the moon or, at least, in space right after the first steps on the moon in 1969. The food served at this meal included peaches, squares of bacon, sugar cookie cubes, a pineapple grapefruit drink, and coffee.
Spaghetti or Spaghetto
Spaghetti is a favorite all around the world. Not to mention, it’s a popular choice among families because a basic spaghetti recipe is a quick and easy dish.
However, you might be surprised to learn that this food name is plural! The definition of the word spaghetti refers to the dish as a whole. So, what would be the word to describe a single noodle for spaghetti? The singular form of this word is actually spaghetto.
The Magic of Sesame Seeds
There are some food items that we eat that actually have a rich history of interpretation. This includes the sesame seeds that you’d see on a hamburger bun.
Sesame seeds were once highly valuable. This is partially because some cultures throughout history have regarded sesame seeds as symbols of good fortune, good luck, or even more magical properties. It’s interesting to see how something once regarded as so highly valuable is now a commonly used ingredient.
When you think of asparagus, you probably picture it wrapped up in the grocery store or even roasted on a plate. This food has an interesting origin, though.
Asparagus grows straight out of the ground and can dwarf the results that you see on your plate. The largest asparagus in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, belongs to Susan Mast in Washington. It measures out to 11 feet and 7.7 inches tall.
There are certain things about food that you always expect and if they’re wrong, it can be off-putting. For instance, a food that’s the wrong color can seem jarring at first glance.
A great example of this food phenomenon is that you always expect carrots to be orange. After all, they always have been, right? Actually, this might not be the case at all! Earlier in history, carrots were purple! In the 17th century, Dutch farmers cultivated mutated carrots, including the orange color we’re used to today.
You Probably Don’t Have Real Wasabi
When sushi is served up, it’s usually accompanied by some pickled ginger and a dollop of wasabi. That is, that’s what comes with your sushi in theory.
Genuine wasabi isn’t as easy to come by as it seems. First, it’s hard to grow. In addition, it’s also an expensive ingredient that is ideally eaten within 15 minutes of being grated onto the plate. The “wasabi” that most places serve with their sushi is actually just horseradish with green dye in it.
The Birth of the Pound Cake
Pound cake is a versatile dessert component. It’s tasty enough to enjoy on its own but it also pairs well with other foods like fruits, ricotta, nuts, whipped cream, and more.
Yet, where did this food get its odd name? The name actually refers to the original recipe. When pound cake originally came into creation in 1975, the recipe called for a pound of each ingredient. This included a pound of butter, a pound of flour, a pound of eggs, and a pound of sugar.
Behind Banana Flavoring
If you’ve ever had a banana-flavored candy, you’ve probably been surprised at the results. It usually doesn’t taste much like a banana at all!
Well, once upon a time it did taste like bananas! There’s a theory that the banana flavoring that many companies use today actually comes from a recipe that mimics bananas that have since gone extinct. We’ll never know, though, because this type of banana, Gros Michel bananas, aren’t commercially grown anymore.
A New Butterfinger
If there’s one candy that often doesn’t get enough attention, it’s Butterfinger. Still, the candy bar is a favorite for many people looking to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Despite the fact that Butterfingers have been in production since 1923, they haven’t always been the same. Actually, the formula for Butterfinger was changed as recently as 2018! While the recipe came to be the one that Butterfinger relied on, it wasn’t always popular. Some people are really unhappy with the results.
America’s First Cake
In today’s world, there are few types of food that grace American tables as frequently for dessert like a chocolate cake. Whether it’s to satisfy a craving or to celebrate events, it’s a popular choice.
However, there’s a first for everything and the chocolate cake wasn’t always in the United States. According to records, the first-mentioned chocolate cake showed up in America during the 1800s. This was a mahogany cake with ermine frosting. Another food fact for this, ermine frosting was popular before cream cheese frosting.
Temporary Bans on Sliced Bread
We’ve all heard the saying comparing various things to the invention of sliced bread. Sliced bread has a surprising history behind it, to many people’s shock.
One food fact about sliced bread that’s particularly unexpected is that it was once banned by the FDA in the United States. While it was first introduced in 1928, the FDA banned it in 1943. This was because it used plastic that was valuable to the war effort. Due to public outrage, the ban only lasted for three months.
Ritter Chocolate Bars Shape
If you’re a chocolate fan, you’ve probably at least seen a Ritter Chocolate Bar. They stand out from other candy bars because they opt for a square rather than a rectangular shape.
This isn’t just to make them stand out on the shelf, though. The chocolate bars were actually designed in a square so that this could slip into a jacket pocket without breaking apart. Ritter has even won a German lawsuit that only allowed them to sell a square chocolate bar.
The Great Molasses Flood
When we think of food, we often think of our favorites or what food we’re craving. You might not think right away that food could cause a disaster.
Unfortunately, it can! In fact, one strange food disaster occurred in 1919: the Great Molasses Flood. This incident involved more a storage tank with more than 2 million gallons of molasses inside. When it exploded, Boston suffered damaged or crushed buildings and flooded streets. There were 21 fatalities and 150 more injuries.
Girl Scout Cookie Differences
If you’ve lived in a few different places around the map, you might have noticed that your Girl Scouts cookie order has changed a bit. Maybe the name and recipe might seem slightly different.
This is because the formulas for Girl Scout Cookies aren’t uniform all over the place. In fact, they’re split between two bakeries. This has led to dual names and varying recipes that make them slightly different. For example, this is why you might buy Samoas in one state but buy Caramel deLites instead after you move.
Cilantro and Coriander
When you’re learning your way around food, adding herbs and seasonings can be intimidating. After all, there are so many different options out there!
On the other hand, there are some ingredients that are more alike than you might think. For instance, cilantro and fresh coriander look identical when they’re placed side-by-side. That’s actually because these are the same thing! Coriander and cilantro are practically interchangeable names for one plant. Coriander seeds come from the same plant as well.
Lobsters Weren’t Always a Luxury
There are certain food items that we associate with luxury. For instance, there’s no way to teach the modern person to feel luxurious as an order of lobster.
This wasn’t actually always the case. Back during the colonial era, crustaceans like crabs and lobsters were widely fished and, thus, widely available. Since they were common, they weren’t a symbol of wealth. Then, lobster was more likely to grace the plate of a prisoner than to be fed to kings.
Peaches and Nectarines
Earlier, we looked at cilantro and coriander. These two terms turned out to be named for one plant. They aren’t the only food items like this.
The same general principle applies to nectarines and peaches. They’re the same plant but their genes determine their identifying characteristics. Peaches feature the dominant gene and nectarines feature the recessive one. This determines whether or not the skin of the fruit is fuzzy or not but both grow from the same parent plant.
Hawaiian Pizza From Canada
If there’s one highly controversial pizza choice, it’s Hawaiian pizza. After all, people tend to have strong opinions about pineapple on pizza.
No matter where you stand on the issue of pineapple on pizza, you’re probably surprised to learn that this dish isn’t from Hawaii at all. Instead, Hawaiian pizza has its origins in Canada. The pizza was the product of a cook named Sam Panopoulos. He was offering a novelty option for Canadians who were still staying fairly conservative with their pizzas.
The Story Behind Spam
Spam is a food that people tend to either love or avoid. It can be fashioned into some tasty dishes but some still see it as something to eat when there are no other options.
One tall tale states that the name Spam is actually an acronym for Scientifically Processed Animal Matter. You’ll be happy to know that the real reason for the name is much less upsetting. Instead of an acronym, Spam is just two words mashed together. The “Sp” comes from “spice” and the “am” comes from “ham.”
George Washington and Carrot Cake
There are times when food intersects with historical events. After all, food comes into play in every part of human history since it’s a basic human need.
In 1783, George Washington and his troops were celebrating British Evacuation Day. While there was a lot of planning ahead, Washington did take time to celebrate. He went to the Fraunces Tavern in New York to enjoy some carrot cake. This would have been an unfrosted tea cake instead of the modern, sweet, and frosted carrot cake.
Jelly or Jam?
Unlike the fresh coriander and cilantro point, some food names that seem interchangeable actually have distinct meanings. Take jelly and jam as an example.
There are plenty of people who would use these two names for both of the food items. However, there is a difference between the two. Jelly has three main ingredients: fruit juice, pectin, and sugar. Jam has these ingredients as well but swaps out the fruit juice for actual fruit which is mashed to create the jam.
Allspice Isn’t All Spices
There are certain names that you hear for food items and other items that make sense. They’re just self-explanatory and tell you exactly what they are.
As for food items, it seems like allspice would be a mix of other spices. It even reminds some of cinnamon and nutmeg when it’s ground and sold as a seasoning. Conversely, allspice is actually a fruit in its own right. When that fruit is ground up, you get the ground allspice in your spice cabinet.
Don’t Snack on Raw Cashews
There are certain food items that people eat all the time that are lethal in massive doses. It’s an interesting position to balance between what we can eat and what we can’t.
One thing that we definitely can’t eat is the shells of raw cashews. They contain urushiol, a compound that’s toxic to humans. This is why the cashews you might pick up at the store have gone through a rigorous steaming or roasting process in manufacturing to remove the urushiol.
Sour Candy and Swedish Fish
There are countless recipes out there, so it only makes sense that some would overlap. There are some food items that are surprisingly similar, though.
Two candies that people enjoy that don’t seem similar at first include Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish. These two candies actually use the same base recipe for the gummy candy itself. The only difference between them is the shape they’re molded into and Sour Patch Kids get a sour coat.
Careful With Rhubarb Leaves
We’ve already seen food items that aren’t as safe for human consumption in their raw form as you’d think. There are other poisonous components to popular ingredients too.
Another example comes from the rhubarb plant. Specifically, rhubarb leaves can prove poisonous to humans. This is because these leaves, when raw, contain something called oxalic acid. This can be lethal to humans but you don’t have to worry too much. You’d have to eat quite a few raw rhubarb leaves to feel the effects.
German Chocolate Cake
There are a variety of cakes out there for those with a sweet tooth to sample. Plus, if you’re interested in food history, these recipes often have an interesting tale to tell.
For one, you probably think that German chocolate cake comes from Germany. Otherwise, why would it be in the name? This isn’t actually the case! The name comes from the name of the man who invented the baking chocolate used in this type of cake, Sam German. German chocolate cake actually originated in Texas.
Invented by Mistake
There are countless kinds of cake out there if you’re craving sweet food. For Midwesterners, the option of St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake is a classic choice.
Yet, it wasn’t always around. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t even invented on purpose! Back in the 1930s, a baker in St. Louis was working on a coffee cake. However, he made the mistake of using the wrong measurement of butter. Instead of tossing the result, it became St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake.
The Truth About Cookie Monster
It’s interesting to see how much food has made its way into pop culture. For example, who doesn’t think of Cookie Monster from time to time when they see cookies?
There’s a secret behind Cookie Monster, though. The “cookies” that you see him eat on Sesame Street aren’t cookies at all! Using real cookies would damage the puppet with too much grease. To solve this problem, the show’s creator’s swapped out real cookies for rice cakes painted to look like chocolate chip cookies.
American food is interesting because it’s often a mix of different cultural recipes. However, there are certain types of food associated with specific regions.
As for one of the western-most states, California, actually had one of its first recorded instances of California cuisine during the Gold Rush in the 1800s, prompting mass westward migration. The dish became known as Hangtown fry. This is an omelet complete with not only the traditional choices of eggs and bacon but oysters as well.
The Secret of Fruity Pebbles
Anyone who appreciates a sugary bowl of cereal for breakfast has probably given Fruity Pebbles a try. There’s just something that sets this classic choice apart from the competition.
If you’ve ever wondered how these cereal bites are made, you don’t have to wonder much longer! In the manufacturing process, the main ingredient in the dish is actually grains of white rice. They’ve just been flattened and puffed up again with both coloring dye and flavoring added to give them the classic taste.
PETA’s Influence on Animal Crackers
Over the course of marketing history, there have been changes to company packaging for a variety of reasons. In the end, the companies want to appeal to as many people as possible.
Sometimes, a change may come as public perception of an issue changes. That’s why the box for animal crackers now may look different from when you were young. Nabisco changed the box after its art was flagged by PETA since the animals were in cages like at a circus. Now, the animals are roaming free.
From Frozen Soda to Popsicles
No matter how old you are, a popsicle on a hot summer day is a great way to cool off. Yet, these necessary snacks were another accidental food invention.
The name behind Popsicle is actually Frank Epperson. Interestingly, the first time he figured the formula out, he was only 11 years old. In 1905, he had a cup of soda but forgot it on the back porch overnight where it froze. The result was actually tasty and later in life, he would patent the Popsicle.
There are certain foods that we enjoy every day without recognizing how much work it takes to get them in our kitchens. This includes the time it takes for fruits and veggies to mature.
One particularly surprisingly long growth period goes to the pineapple you picked up from the produce section. To get large enough to mature completely and sold to a consumer, a pineapple is two to three years in the making. That means there are a few years of work behind every pineapple!
A Change in McDonald’s Fries
When you’re trying to avoid meat, it’s hard to monitor all the elements where animal products come into play. Would you have known to avoid french fries before 1990?
Well, the french fries sold at McDonald’s, at least. Before this point, the french fries were always cooked in beef fat. In 1990, McDonald’s switched over to the use of vegetable oil in the place of beef fat. This was part of a growing effort for the fast-food chain to appear healthier.
Vanilla Beans Take a While
Pineapples are far from the only food item that takes a while to make it to your table. Another example is the growth of vanilla beans, the core of vanilla flavoring.
Genuine vanilla, that is, takes a lot of time and work to create for consumers. For one, it takes a vanilla plant a minimum of three years to mature before it will even produce a vanilla bean. Plus, the flowers of the plant are only open for pollination a single day after blooming.
Costco’s Best Sellers
Costco has a lot of great selling points for members. Aside from large orders of products, Costco members can enjoy a snack or even a meal while they shop.
In fact, the best-selling items at Costco include their food court hot dogs, rotisserie chicken, and bacon. The only non-food item that beats them out is toilet paper. On top of that, the chicken and hot dogs have both stayed at the same price now as when they debuted over ten years ago.
Thank Mistakes for Toll House
As we’ve learned so far, the mistakes made in food are sometimes golden ideas. Some of your favorite snacks wouldn’t be possible without one person’s mistake.
This actually includes the Toll House cookie dough that you pick up at the store. In 1930, the owner of the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts, Ruth Wakefield, added semisweet chocolate chips to her cookie dough. She expected them to melt but they actually held their shape! Later, she sold the recipe to Nestle.
Fruit Salad Trees?
Fruit salad is a great snack to turn to when you want something a little sweet but much healthier than the average candy bar to fix this craving.
Fruit salads are also great because they have a lot of variety. There are plenty of different types of fruit from a variety of plants that go into a fruit salad. That is all this food used to be spread out across multiple plants. In Australia, a fruit salad tree with up to six fruit types was actually developed.
Quinoa is a popular ingredient anymore and for good reason! It’s a tasty food to add to a dish and it’s fairly good for you, making it even better.
The plant quinoa comes from, seen here, isn’t how most people picture it, though. The seeds of the plant are actually what you eat. Yet, the seeds are inaccessible until the quinoa plant flowers. This means that it isn’t until later on in the process that quinoa can be harvested.
Reese’s Pieces and Reese’s Cups
Reese’s has been a successful name in candy for quite some time. In fact, there are plenty of different types of Reese’s candy that you can snack on when you need something sweet.
Not all of these food items are as similar as you might think, though. The filling that Reese’s Pieces and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups isn’t the same. Another interesting food fact about Reese’s Pieces is that every box or bag of candy is broken down to about 25% yellow, 25% brown, and 50% orange pieces.
Don’t Eat Too Much Nutmeg
Most people have a bottle of ground nutmeg in their cabinet. After all, it’s a useful tool to shake up the flavor of a number of different food items.
Still, you won’t want to overdo it – especially with nutmeg. The seasoning actually contains myristicin which isn’t great for humans. The results of ingestion of too much myristicin include hallucinatory results. The good news is that you’d need to ingest a lot of nutmeg to experience any of these adverse effects.
Plenty of Veggies From One Plant
There are plenty of vegetables out there. Even the pickiest eater can find a plant they love! At least, a product of a plant that they love with their food.
You might be surprised to learn that cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower are all from one plant! They come from the Brassica oleracea. Over a few hundred years, the plant was selectively bred, ensuring that it produced plenty of different types of veggies. That’s a pretty powerful plant!
On a Roll
Any inventor who creates a food most people love is already impressive. When you create multiple foods, though, you’ve earned your place in culinary history.
The latter situation is the case for William A. Mitchell. Originally from Minnesota, he invented quite a few items almost everyone is familiar with. This includes Tang, Pop Rocks, and Cool Whip. Even more interestingly, his daughter, Cheryl, would go on to help create plant-based milk in the form of products like Rice Dream rice milk.
McDonald’s Onion Nuggets
There are few fast food companies as recognizable as McDonald’s. Not only that, their McNuggets are nearly synonymous with the name of their brand.
The chicken nuggets weren’t always the only nugget option the fast-food joint offered. Later in the 1970s, onion nuggets were test run. These were bite-sized bits of onion that were deep-fried. The “Onion Nuggets” made their debut in select markets but never took off, paving the way for chicken McNuggets later which performed much better.
Introducing Sequin Salad
Looking at cookbooks throughout the 1900s, especially the 1970s, the love for gelatin is clear. There was no shortage of recipes in which food was suspended in gelatin molds.
In the 1950s, Jell-O actually advertised their first gelatin recipe. This was called sequin salad. Sequin salad featured lime Jell-O. As for the food suspended inside of it, the recipe relied on cauliflower and red peppers. Both of these ingredients were soaked in vinegar before their introduction to the Jell-O.