How Did Popcorn Become One Of Our Fave Snacks?
This afternoon I had an intense craving for popcorn. Low-carbers, I wish you luck. However, I know there's no way on earth I could ever give up popcorn. Or English muffins. Or corn chips--you get the picture.
Anyway, I'm listening to the popping in my microwave and I start to wonder. How on Earth popped popcorn, of all things, became such a go-to snack for us. Where'd that get started?
A little research revealed that popcorn became popular right about the time the first patents for popcorn poppers emerged on the scene in the 1830's or so. I mean, not many people were willing previously to fling popcorn into an open fire to pop it. That is, except for Native Americans. Author Andrew F. Smith found during his research for his book Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America, that there was evidence in Central America that popped popcorn was enjoyed up to 9,000 years ago. Wow.
So, fast forwarding back to the 1830's and 40's. Popcorn came to be a regular snack offering at community shindigs such as sporting or church events. Very often, a popcorn wagon would be present--like an early "food truck" of types.
Here's some irony. Where's your favorite place to have popcorn? If you answered "movie theater," you win the PRIZE!! The prize being my utmost admiration. Well, when motion pictures hit is the 1930's, popcorn wasn't allowed in the theaters. Back then theaters were quite fancy places and proprietors didn't want all the crunchy snack fallout falling all over their floor.
It took the Great Depression for theater owners to realize they could make some money by selling snacks. (Boy has THAT ever carried over to present day--"oh, you'd like a thimble of Sprite? That'll be $800 please. Enjoy your movie!" Not that I'm complaining--they have to make money somewhere. The truth is, they make WAY more money on the concessions than they do on ticket sales.
Continuing along the timeline to the 1980's. Popcorn had another popularity boom due to the invention of....Yep, the microwave. However, more specifically, the mircrowave-able popcorn. I mean, you wouldn't want to put a pan of Jiffy Pop in there. Not quite the same. (The sparks might be fun to watch, tho.) Obvs, I'm kidding.
Old school as it may be though, my favorite way to have popcorn today is when I make it in a pot. Yep. I spoon a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil into the pot and heat for about a minute. Then I pour enough popcorn kernels in to make a single layer. Um, don't forget to put the lid back on or you shall be in for an explosive, but probably amusing, experience.
Once the popping slows to two seconds or so between pops, turn off the heat. Add a bit of sea salt to taste, and enjoy. Or add caramel. OMG.
*crunch crunch crunch*