Snapdragon is a sport from the 18th and nineteenth centuries that includes sticking your hand in a bowl of flaming brandy to grab a raisin. Whereas it sounds painful and harmful, the parlor sport was a Christmas custom, and an opportunity to point out off your bravery. The workers at Atlas Obscura obtained collectively on Zoom to seek out out what the draw was, by taking part in snapdragon themselves.
True, all of us hesitated earlier than placing our palms into the hearth. As the author of this piece, I took it upon myself to grab out the primary almond. “It is tremendous, no ache!” I shouted, displaying off the burning nut earlier than popping it in my mouth.
Quickly, we had been all grabbing on the raisins and almonds fearlessly. Whereas transient bursts of warmth did make us often snatch our palms away, the sting pale rapidly, and nobody obtained burned. Some early accounts of snapdragon really helpful throwing salt on the flames, with none rationalization of what it will do. Because it occurs, pinches of salt tossed on the hearth makes the flames pop and flare good gold, for only a second.
Whereas we began the sport nervous about dipping our palms into literal hearth, it quickly turned clear that snapdragon is absolutely, actually enjoyable. So why does nobody play it anymore?
A U.S. Forest Service hearth scientist explains why the game works, and we get a recipe for correct snapdragon hearth at Atlas Obscura.