Why do Rice Krispies make that crackling noise in milk?
Inquiring minds at our house wanted to know…So I found out. Without either merrying-up or messing-up the breakfast table. I think they might be pretty much the same thing actually.
Kellogg’s Rice Krispies (which are called Rice Bubbles in Australia), first appeared in 1928. They are, not surprisingly, made of rice.
The rice is Krispied by popping it in a way quite similar to the popping of corn (oh look, a little connection with yesterday’s post!). The rice grains are cooked, dried and toasted. This gives them a hard outer layer. Then they are popped by being exposed to steam.
The steaming process moisturizes the starch inside the toasted outer layer of the Krispie, and they pop. The popping produces little air chambers inside the Krispied rice – little air chambers and tunnels which have very, very thin walls.
Then you come along, slap them in a bowl and surprise them with an onslaught of milk. They get wet, of course. When the milk reaches the inside of the Krispies, the teeny inner walls collapse very quickly. The sound of the collapsing Krispie walls is the snap, crackle, popping business.
Of course, if you are eating these in another country, you will get a slightly different noise. For example, if you are in Quebec, you will hear “Cric! Crac! Croc!” (That is louder than snap, crackle, pop, I believe. These are intense Krispies).
In Germany: “Knisper! Knasper! Knusper!” (They are whispering secrets, obviously. What exactly do they know?)
In Finland: “Riks! Raks! Poks!” ( Why not “Roks!” – ? No idea.)
And in Spain they go “Pim! Pum! Pam!” (rather like little drums, no?)
Let’s end up with a recipe that uses this noisy cereal – one that is NOT a marshmallow square. This is from To The Bride, a 1956 cookbook/household guide. I think the Chase and Sanborn Coffee people had a hand in it, since every menu suggestion includes – well, you know. This is one of the few recipes that does not involve a certain brand of coffee:
RICE KRISPIES WONDER FUDGE*
1. Take a cup of semi-sweet chocolate and melt in double boiler.
2. Take off heat and add 1/4 butter or margarine and 1/4 cup light corn syrup.
3. Stir in a tsp of vanilla and a cup of sifted confectioner’s sugar.
4. Add three cups of Rice Krispies!
5. Mix “lightly” – otherwise those Krispies will suffer! (And they will say more than cric, crac, croc about it, too).
6. Spread it all out in an 8 inch square pan. I think you ought to butter it, though they don’t say that.
7. Let it cool off and then cut it up – in squares! The Krispies’ favorite geometric shape.
8. I wonder what the “Wonder” part of this fudge is.
9. Maybe that’s it – nobody really knows. It’s an enigma wrapped in a mystery, Krispies wrapped in chocolate and corn syrup.
Oh, and I know the advertisement is off-season. All the good Krispie ads online are all rights reserved etc., or they seemed like it. And this is what I had.
Next week, tune in for another edition of Enquiring Minds Want To Know! (And I might change that title, we’ll just see about that). I do have a few questions in the pipeline – but obviously, if you think of something I would be glad to know about it.
Anything, really – any pop culture stuff, trivia, slang, urban legends, old movies, old TV shows – you name it, I’ll try and find out about it, write it up, and link to you, too.
* I rewrote the directions, because we don’t have all day, do we? Right.
Well, first of all I ran like the wind to Wikipedia