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MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Does Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

You’ve probably wondered, as you struggled to keep your eyes open amidst all the Thanksgiving Day football & family chatter, “is it the turkey that’s making me sleepy”?

Here’s the chemistry involved: turkey contains L-Tryptophan, an amino acid involved in sleep; your body uses that to produce a B vitamin called niacin, which generates the neurotransmitter serotonin, which yields the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate your sleeping patterns. But, plenty of other common foods contain similar amounts of tryptophan, including other poultry, meat, cheese, yogurt, fish, eggs, and others.

Moreover, for tryptophan to produce serotonin in your brain, first it has to cross the blood-brain barrier, which a lot of other amino acids are also trying to do. To give tryptophan a leg up in the competition, it needs the help of carbohydrates. Eating a small, all-carbohydrate snack a little while after you’ve eaten something containing tryptophan, will help the carbs will ferry that tryptophan from your bloodstream to your brain.

Thanksgiving isn’t about eating small, well-timed snacks, however; it’s more about mounds of mashed potatoes, mountains of stuffing, and moats of gravy. Combine that with alcohol, and you’re more than likely going to collapse into a spectacular food coma after the meal. Your body has to work extra hard to digest when you overeat (especially high-fat foods), redirecting blood to the digestive system & leaving little energy for anything else. And, since alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, it also slows your brain & other organs down.

In short, you can still hold turkey responsible for your Thanksgiving drowsiness, but you should also make sure that the mac & cheese, spiked apple cider, and that second piece of pumpkin pie also share the blame.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Put Paper Chef’s Hats On Turkey Legs?

Sometimes, you feel like wearing a chef’s hat while you cook Thanksgiving dinner, and that’s okay. But placing a tiny chef’s hat on the end of each turkey leg could be considered taking the holiday cheer a bit too far. Why do we always see that, though, especially in movies & cartoons?

Over the years, those paper coverings have had many creative names: turkey frills, turkey booties, even turkey panties. While they’ve (thankfully) fallen out of fashion in recent years, they did originally serve a very specific purpose. According to writer John Cordy Jeaffreson in the 1800s, paper trimmings sprung up in the 17th century as a way for women to keep their hands clean while carving meat.

Here’s what he wrote in his 1875 book, A Book About the Table: “To preserve the cleanliness of her fingers, the covering was put on those parts of joints which the carver usually touched with the left hand, whilst the right made play with the shining blade. The paper-frill, which may be seen round the bony point & small end of a leg, is a memorial of the fashion in which joints were dressed for the dainty hands of lady-carvers”, before the introduction of the carving-fork.

When etiquette books started encouraging “lady-carvers” to use carving forks, the paper didn’t become obsolete…it just got frillier. During the 19th & 20th centuries, chop frills were a cute & classy way to conceal the unsightly leg bones of roast turkey, lamb, chicken, or any other bird. So, if you have dainty hands like me, you can use them if you wish…or, just use a carving fork and knife & you’ll be set.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Is There A Difference Between Stuffing & Dressing?

If you’re a carb lover like me, nothing completes a Thanksgiving meal quite like dressing…boatloads of bread, celery, and other ingredients & spices to complement that beautiful bird protein.

Some people don’t call it dressing, though…they say stuffing. In these unprecedented times, knowing how to properly refer to that magnificent mound of moist bread seems necessary. So what’s the difference?

Let’s knock out one theory right here at the top: dressing & stuffing do not correlate with how the side dish is prepared. A turkey can be stuffed with dressing, and stuffing can be served in a casserole pan. Whether it’s ever seen the inside of a bird is irrelevant, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong & should be run out of town on a rail.

The terms are actually separated due to regional dialects. Dressing seems to be the favored choice for southern states like my home state of Mississippi, as well as Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. Meanwhile, stuffing is preferred by Mainers, New Yorkers, and other folks of the northern areas. There are some parts of Pennsylvania where they call it filling, but…no harm, no foul.

If stuffing stemmed from the common practice of filling a turkey with carbs, why the separation? It was likely because Southerners considered the word stuffing impolite, so they never really accepted it.

So, while there’s really no material difference between stuffing or dressing, when visiting relatives it might be helpful to utilize to their regionally-preferred word to avoid confusion & dirty looks. But, otherwise…just enjoy stuffing yourself!

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at

Andy Webb, a 25-year Radio entertainer & content creator, is the new Program Director for 99.9 WFRE & host of “The Free Country Free Ride” weekday afternoons from 3pm-7pm.

From his very first job in 1995, in his hometown of Meridian, MS, Radio has been the only occupation Andy’s ever known; from the age of reel-to-reel tape to today’s digital audio, he worked his way up through late-night air shifts all the way up to morning drive. Always an eager student of Radio, Andy has used every opportunity to hone his skills and personality into an affable mixture of humor and gravitas listeners can instantly identify with & latch onto. He’s been featured across many formats, including Country, Classic Rock, Adult Contemporary, Hot AC, Southern Gospel, and even Urban AC; and, as a testament to his talents and commitment to fun-yet-informative radio, Andy was awarded the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters“Radio Personality of the Year” award four out of five years between 2006 and 2011.

While having attended The University of Southern Mississippi on an Opera Performance scholarship, Andy always followed the path Radio set before him, which has taken him from Meridian to Hattiesburg, MS, to Charleston, SC, and now Frederick, MD. Andy enjoys spending time with his wife, Emma (a fellow Broadcaster), and daughter, Isabel, while also spending his infrequent free time golfing, wood-working, an motorcycle riding.

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