People have been enjoying this tasty treat for centuries.
Oct 6, 2009
The year was 1948. Researchers discovered some very old ears of corn in a bat cave in west central Mexico. According to the scientists who examined and tested them these ears dated back to approximately 2500 B.C. when the Cachise Indians were thought to have grown and eaten popcorn. Likewise, popcorn kernels have been found in tombs on the east coast of Peru. Amazingly, some of these kernels still popped after more than 1000 years! And legend has it that when Christopher Columbus first arrived in the West Indies he found the natives eating popcorn as well as using it for decoration. Yes, there is ample evidence that indigenous peoples all over the world have known and grown popcorn for centuries. For most of the history of the world popcorn provided badly needed sustenance for those who grew it. Today, we look at popcorn in a much different way. Popcorn has become one of the most popular snack foods in the world.
The very first popcorn machine was invented by Charles Cretors of Chicago, Illinois in 1885. He sold his product on street corners. The market for popcorn began to expand rapidly with the introduction of "Cracker Jack" in 1896. When movie theatres blossomed in the 1920's popcorn became the snack food of choice for many Americans. It was cheap and one of the few luxuries most people could afford during the Great Depression. Meanwhile, popcorn proved to be a reliable cash crop for thousands of midwestern farmers. Americans developed an insatiable appetite for the stuff and popcorn continues to be a wildly popular snack food that is enjoyed by people of all ages.
These days there are popcorn products for just about any taste and budget. Most Americans make microwave popcorn at home on a fairly regular basis. I can think of very few other reasons to own a microwave! Meanwhile, popcorn continues to be a best seller at theaters and sporting events around the country. You can also purchase popcorn in bags at the supermarket. There are so many great varieties. I am particularly partial to "Smartfood". And what would a carnival or county fair be like without a seemingly bottomless bag of the sweet n' salty treat known as "kettle corn"? Those folks with more discriminating palates and money to burn can sample an endless variety of gourmet popcorns that are available both online and in retail stores. A quick check of the internet revealed such diverse flavors as Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt, Ginger Sesame Caramel, Dark Chocolate Cherry, Peanut Butter Drizzle and Black Truffle to name but a few.
As for me, I think I will stick with the tried and true. Give me a piping hot bowl of traditional buttered popcorn lightly salted. Where popcorn is concerned I definitely prefer salty to sweet. If left to my own devices I will eat the entire bowl myself. Popcorn remains an inexpensive and relatively healthy snack compared to other options like cookies, cake and ice cream. Eating popcorn always puts a smile on my face!Highly recommended!
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Popcorn or popping corn is a type of corn which explodes from the kernel and puffs up when heated. Corn popping was originally discovered by Native Americans, but became popular as a snack food during the United States Great Depression, especially in movie theaters.
Corn is able to pop because, unlike other grains, its kernels have a hard moisture-sealed hull and a dense starchy filling. This allows pressure to build inside the kernel until an explosive "pop" results. Some strains of corn are now cultivated specifically as popping corns.
There are many techniques for popping corn. Commercial large-scale popcorn machines were invented by Charles Cretors in the late 19th Century. Many types of small-scale home methods for popping corn also exist, with the most popular being prepackaged microwavable popcorn.
As a snack food, popcorn has both advocates and detractors. Some consider it to be a health food, while others caution against it for a variety of reasons. Popcorn can also have non-food applications, ranging from holiday decorations to packaging materials.