by Pauli Poisuo
Everyone loved playing with food when they were kids, but eventually, you grow up and start eating like an adult. If you're fortunate, sometimes you skip adulthood altogether and transition straight into "rogue" status. And as we know, the modern rogue likes to take everything to another level. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back: Here’s a bunch of simple, science-based food tricks that are way cooler than any mashed potato volcano your childhood friends ever thought to concoct. In fact, they’re so impressive, they’re basically magic.
Potato Based Non-Newtonian Fluid
Since we name-dropped potatoes in the intro, it’s only fair we kick this article off with a little tater-themed magic. The internet likes to call the following trick “potato magic mud," but we’ll just call it what it really is: Sweet, sweet science. That way, it’s far more impressive when your friends are tinkering with their boring, old potato batteries, and you casually whip out your fresh batch of potato-based non-Newtonian fluid.
Oh yeah, it also glows in the dark. You know, as a final “screw you” to anyone attempting to impress the room with their wussy little straw-through-the-potato trick.
Pfffft. Let's see you put the potato through the straw.
The “potato magic mud” recipe was created by The King of Random. While we’d never reveal the complex trade secrets of a fellow science-magic enthusiast (here’s a detailed 15-page guide he sells if you’re interested), we can say that much like Batman, the process relies heavily on prep time. The ultimate goal is to reduce the starch in potatoes into a pure, white powder, which will take roughly 2 days ... but the result is absolutely worth it. You’ll end up with a badass substance that you can mix with a liquid for an instant, freaky non-Newtonian fluid. If you’re not familiar with the concept, these are fluids that don’t care much about Sir Isaac’s petty Law of Viscosity. This particular version is a variety called oobleck, which rests at a liquid state but hardens when force is exerted upon it.
The usual recipe calls for 1 part water, 1.5-2 parts of corn starch, but pulling this off with potatoes is obviously a much cooler trick. After all, everyone knows corn starch does unholy things to water, but no one would ever imagine that your everyday bag of French fry fodder could become a glow-in-the-dark muck that behaves like the very laws of physics insulted its mom. Just to add extra awesomeness, the water is substituted with tonic, which contains quinine that reacts with the potato powder to provide the eerie glow.
Now, we know what you’re asking: “That’s all well and good, but can I finish my act by locking eyes with my worst enemy, as I slowly eat my glow-in-the-dark potato that laughs in the face of physics?” Sure you can. Just don’t gorge yourself on it, though. While the substance is perfectly edible in small amounts, we suspect that shoving a pound of starchy goo in your facehole is going to perform a very different kind of physical phenomenon in your lower intestine.
Explode A Watermelon, Using Nothing But Rubber Bands
There is something about a watermelon that entices thoughts of violence. There’s a world record for smashing them between your thighs. Prop comedian Gallagher has made smashing them with a giant mallet his entire thing. And now you, too, can take out your worst impulses on this poor vine fruit.
We’re not about to make watermelons explode by drilling holes in them and sticking fireworks inside. Oh no. That would be too easy. We’re about to go the whole nine yards, and turn the poor melon into a botanical Claymore mine using nothing but a bunch of rubber bands. Behold:
You start by putting a rubber band around the watermelon. Then, you apply another. And another. And another. And another. Eventually, the poor fruit starts looking like it has been forced into a particularly uncomfortable corset.
As the pressure around the watermelon increases, the shell is forced inward, and the juicy contents are forced in a smaller and smaller space. It’s only a matter of time before one of the rubber bands will finally make the pressure too much to handle, and the contents of the fruit will burst out from the top like a face-hugger egg in Alien. Alternately, you could dress the melon up as your least favorite coworker and pretend that you’re recreating the head explosion scene from Scanners.
Glowing Eggs That Bounce
Eggs are a common target for light kitchen sorcery. You can Google “egg magic trick” and spend the rest of your life uncomfortably sinking in the rabbit hole of the 1.9 million or so search results. So, just to make things impressive enough to warrant a place on this list, let’s set the bar a little higher. Also, it should glow, because hey, it worked with the potatoes.
Of course, this sounds like a completely arbitrary, impossible set of stipulations we just made up so we wouldn’t have to include a cheapo egg trick in this prestigious article. But here's what it looks like when you pull it off:
Yes, we know that recipe comes from something called “Hoopla Kidz Lab.” We don’t care. Kids know their awesome stuff. This trick is not only awesome, but surprisingly simple, too: If you have time but lack the manual skill and drive to make the potato goo, just dissolve some highlighter ink in vinegar and dunk an egg in there. Then, wait about a week until the inside of the egg swells enough that the shell falls off in tiny bits. The egg has now absorbed the vinegar/ink mixture via osmosis and turned into a tough, bouncy membrane that glows green under a blacklight.
It, uh, probably goes without saying that you shouldn’t try to eat this one.
Marshmallows are one of those foods that are hard to imagine as anything other than their basest form. You put them in hot chocolate or roast them over a campfire to make S’mores ... or just buy your S’Mores from the store after you’ve accidentally burned them all to sugary cinder.
But did you know you could turn them into paint? I mean, before reading the header title that gave it away? Anyway, yes, you can actually make marshmallow paint.
So eat it. No, seriously, like ... literally eat it.
The person behind this innovation says that their kids wanted to paint one day, but they didn’t have any in the house, so they were forced to improvise painting out of the contents of their pantry. The “No paints? Quick! To the pantry!” thought process is worthy of the silver medal in the MacGyver Improvisation Competition. The gold, however, goes to the recipe itself:
You stick a cup of marshmallows in the microwave, so they expand and start to melt. Add some water, and microwave some more. Add a little corn syrup, and microwave even more. Then, you just put the ensuing goo in a few different containers, add some food coloring, and voila! You have a good bunch of completely edible and surprisingly non-sticky paints, just waiting for you to finally give in to your darkest paint chip eating impulses.
Make Rocket Fuel Out Of Sugar
Before we go on, we need to shout out a quick disclaimer: Unless you’re well trained in rocket fuelology, some of these links are quite literally recipes for burning and/or exploding various appendages that you’d probably prefer remain attached. As a rogue, your interest here should be purely academic. We’d never think of whipping up a concoction like this in everyday circumstances, but it is a handy thing to know in case the zombie apocalypse comes and you find yourself trapped in a sugar refinery.
And you know it's going to happen sooner or later.
It’s called R-Candy, and yes, it’s a bona fide rocket propellant fuel that you can straight up make from sugar. The particular mixtures in that video are based on white table sugar and potassium nitrate stump remover, along with some corn syrup, water and rust powder. However, it can be made from many different oxidizers and sugars, mixed at a 13:7 ratio. Some people also add other ingredients to act as catalysts, or to create awesome effects during liftoff and flight.
The actual legality of R-Candy is surprisingly hard to find solid data on, and even rocketry forums seem occasionally stumped by the subject. Wikipedia insists that making rocket candy motors is actually legal in the United States, though transporting them requires an explosives permit. They must be launched at specific sites sanctioned by the Tripoli Rocketry Association, which is a regulating body for high powered rocketry.
Wait, hold on. There’s an actual association dedicated to launching badass rockets like this? Are ... are they recruiting?
Like this article? Check out "From Batteries To Plastic Wrap: 5 Ways Science Is Making Our Garbage Edible" and "5 Crappy Toys That People Hacked Into Awesomeness".