Publication date January 30, 2024

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager Sparks Massive Debate over Eating Snow

Reese Witherspoon sparked an online buzz with her "Snow Salt Chococcino" made with freshly fallen snow, raising concerns about potential health risks. 

But it turns out she's not alone! The co-hosts of Today with Hoda & Jenna, Jenna Bush Hager, and Hoda Kotb, confessed to being fellow snow-eaters, even sharing a family recipe passed down from Hager's mom. 

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush

Source: Yahoo

But the big question is eating snow actually safe for us? Let’s dive in to understand the curious case of snow consumption and reveal the secrets behind their "weird recipe."

What's the deal with Reese Witherspoon and eating snow?

It all began on Jan. 19, when the "The Morning Show" star shared a video of herself eating snow after she fashioned it into a chocolate drink. In this TikTok video, Witherspoon captured herself gathering snow outside her house in large cups. After this, she added salted caramel sauce and chocolate syrup over the snowflakes and mixed it with cold-brewed coffee.

snow salt Chococcino

Source: People

"Oh my gosh, this is so good," Witherspoon said while trying the creative drink on TikTok. She captioned the clip, "Snow days were made for Chococinnos."

After she posted the video on TikTok, Witherspoon was quickly met with comments from people who argued it's not safe to eat snow. "U can get seriously sick," one person wrote in her post comments. 

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager eat Snow, too!

After watching the video, Jenna added her opinion on the controversy saying on Today with Hoda & Jenna that she's been eating snow for years.

"We would eat it like three days later,” she continued. “We tried to make sure it wasn’t yellow, but if it was white, we were going for it.”

Hoda also said that she and her daughters now make snow treats based on a hot tip that came straight from Jenna. Her exact words were, “When the snow falls, we get cups," Hoda explained. "We fill it up, we take half and half or heavy cream. You add some sugar or sweetener, mix it up and it’s called snow ice cream.”

Hager added that the recipe Hoda follows belongs to her mother, former First Lady Laura Bush, who would add any type of sweetener, from agave to maple sugar. "That was what my mom did when it snowed once a year in Texas," Jenna described. “That was her recipe that we passed down."

Reese Witherspoon Responds to Criticism

Witherspoon soon realized that there were many concerned fans and to respond she made several videos, including where she talked about her upbringing and said she never grew up drinking filtered water. She said, "OK, talking about the snow not being filtered, I didn't grow up drinking filtered water.” 

Reese Witherspoon

Source: Page Six

Continued saying "We actually put our mouths on the tap and then sometimes in the summer when it was hot, we drank out of the hose. Like, we put our mouths on the hose growing up.”

In the video clip, Witherspoon also laughed and noted she doesn't know how to filter snow. Later in another video, she responded to a comment that asked her to microwave the snow to "see if it's safe to eat."

In the clip, she appears holding a jar of liquid to show that snow is clear after melting. "Is this bad? Am I not supposed to eat snow?" Witherspoon asked. At last, she explained that her attitude towards making the "delicious" treat is, "You only live once." "It snows maybe once a year here," Witherspoon added.

So, is Snow actually Safe to eat?

Well, that’s true that in most cases eating a little bit of freshly fallen snow is harmless, but experts suggest that there are possibilities for it to be dangerous — so one should make sure you’re eating the right kind of snow.

Also, eating snow may be a common thing among people who grew up in certain regions of the country, but eating snow may go as far back as thousands of years ago, with legend saying Roman Emperor Nero enjoyed snow with honey as a treat.

Additionally, in 2021, TODAY Food asked Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News’ health and nutrition editor, if is snow safe to eat. Fernstrom responded snow is OK to eat as long as it's "freshly fallen.” 

"And it goes without saying, no snow plows, either anything that’s plowed or on the side, even if it looks OK, skip that. And of course, skip anything that is not snowy white, anything that’s discolored at all," she stated.

Fernstrom also said that it's always best to collect the snow after it's fallen "for an hour or more" because "that will tend to be the cleanest snow." 

“Can you guarantee any snow will be contaminant-free? No, but the levels will be so tiny, that some research shows that it doesn’t exceed any of the levels for anything else that you find anything in the atmosphere. And so that’s a good thing," she added.

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