Watery mustard, exploding hotdogs, and brain freezes

Summer catastrophes are something special.  I think we all tend to be a bit more adventurous during the warmer months and I personally have a constant supply of bandages with me at all times.   Because when the fun gets a little too far out of hand, I want to be ready.  Or, if at all possible, if I know what the dangers are, I like to stop them before they even happen.
Take, for example, three of the biggest summer catastrophes.  They are, in no particular order: runny mustard, exploding hotdogs, and the all-painful and excruciating brain freeze.  From soggy buns to wanting to smash your head against the wall, these misfortunes have happened to the best of us.  But that’s where the little bit of extra knowledge comes in.  We just need to be prepared.
Runny mustard.  We’ve all been there, with a freshly grilled burger in our hand when we flip the mustard over and squeeze out…a river of unwanted water.  Groans can be heard from backyards across the state, but it need not be that way.  The delicious condiment that we know as mustard is made of ground mustard seeds, vinegar, water, and maybe a few other things.  When it sits, the ground mustard separates out and settles at the bottom.  The best we can do to avoid the watery surface is to either shake copiously, or even easier, don’t be the first one to use the mustard.
Exploding hotdogs.  I can’t be the only one who keeps an emergency stash of hotdogs in the freezer for last minute lunch or dinner ideas.  They are quite handy, but could also be potentially dangerous if you don’t carefully thaw them.  A frozen hotdog set to thaw in the microwave brings certain danger, in the form of a BANG and hotdog guts flung across the once-clean glass door of your appliance.  As it turns out, the ice crystals inside the hotdog don’t do well with the jiggle of the actual microwaves flowing through them.  A couple might break free and do their little thaw out dance, but the others right next to them are totally locked in an icy place.  When some start to dance, there is nowhere to go but out.  All over the place.  While its frozen neighbor stays perfectly chilly.  Bottom line, unless you really want to clean dog splatter, thaw your hotdogs in another manner.
Brain freeze.  Ice cream headaches.  The torture of all torture when you are really craving that big, cold scoop of ice cream.  You quickly bite it and while savoring it in your mouth, your head instantly begins to feel like it’s going to explode.  Literally.  Like a frozen hotdog in a microwave.  Lucky for you, you’re reading this and can learn how to safely and effectively avoid the brain freeze this summer and will be able to impress your friends.
The roof of your mouth has these little nerve endings that send signals to your brain.  When you push the ice cream to the roof of your mouth, those nerve endings get all chilly and bothered and say something to your brain like, “we’re freezing!  Quick!  Help!”  And your brain does a great job responding to this, because it doesn’t like to be cold either.  So your brain tells your body to quickly pump extra blood through dilated blood vessels into your head so that your brain can be warmed up again.  The problem is that the rush of blood is painful.  You can easily avoid all of this by simply not letting the ice cream touch the roof of your mouth, or if it does happen, just press your warm tongue up against the roof.  Problem tastefully solved.
So live it up this summer, but stay safe.  Share your new found knowledge over your next barbeque or ice cream social, and always remember one very important thing: Don’t be first in the mustard line.


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