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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Popcorn

HISTORY 

Archaeologists have discovered that people have known about popcorn for thousands of years. Evidence in Peru suggests that popcorn existed as early as 4700 B.C.

The oldest ear of popcorn was found in a bat cave in Mexico in 1948. It is believed to be over 5,000 years old.

Sixteenth-century Aztecs in Central America used popcorn during ceremonies. Several young women would dance a "popcorn dance" with popcorn garlands worn on their heads. The Aztecs also used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods.

The Native Americans Indians popped popcorn in a pottery vessel with heated sand and used it to make popcorn soup, among other things.

Unpopped corn

Native Americans used to believe that spirits peacefully lived inside each popcorn kernel. When the kernels were heated, the spirits would get so angry that their "homes" would start to shake. When it got too hot, the spirits broke out of their homes in a very angry burst of steam.

When the Pilgrim settlers arrived in Massachusetts, the Indians brought popcorn snacks to meetings with the English colonists as a token of goodwill during peace negotiations.

By 1675 Colonial housewives were serving popcorn with sugar and cream for breakfast. The corn was popped by means of a cylinder of thin sheet-iron that revolved on an axle in front of the fireplace.

The popcorn machine was invented in 1885 by a Chicago, Illinois confectionery shop owner, Charles Cretors. He purchased a peanut roasting machine for his shop, which didn't work very well, so he redesigned the appliance. His redesign allowed for not only roasting peanuts, but also evenly popping popcorn in seasoning.

Charles Cretors operated his popcorn machine outside on the street. The bulky machine with its gasoline burner became a familiar part of the outside scent.

An early Cretors popcorn machine in a street cart

The Kellogg family had popcorn for breakfast before they invented corn flakes in 1878.

Popcorn was banned from movie theaters in the 1920's because of the noise people made while eating the snack.

In 1929 as a result of the Great Depression, many people were without work and had no money to buy food. Popcorn at 5 or 10 cents was one of the few luxuries down-and-out families affected by the economic slump could afford. While other businesses failed, the popcorn business thrived.


Huge profits from popcorn sales are said to have saved the US movie industry in the 1930s, when theater owners scrambled to make up for reduced ticket prices during the Great Depression by turning to ''audible edibles.'' From 1934 to 1940, the nation's annual popcorn harvest grew from five million to 100 million pounds.

In 1946, popcorn became the first food to be microwaved deliberately. It was done by Percy Spencer, inventor of the microwave oven.

TYPES OF POPCORN 

Popcorn is scientifically known as Zea mays everta.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “popcorn” dates back to 1838 for a type of corn that pops or to 1847 for the popcorn snack.

Orville Redenbacher paid an advertising agency $13,000 to come up with his popcorn's brand name—"Orville Redenbacher's."

The USA's favorite popcorn flavor is sweet, but sweet & salty comes in at a very close second, with sales growing at 70% year on year.

CONSUMPTION 

Most of the world's popcorn is grown in the USA's Midwest, with Nebraska ranked number one.

The average American eats 42 quarts of popcorn a year.

Americans consume around 3,500 tons of popcorn while they watch the Superbowl.

Cinema-goers eat 28% more popcorn when watching a sad movie.


Movie theater popcorn costs more per ounce than filet mignon.

Movie theaters mark-up the price of popcorn by an average of 1,275 percent.

Since 2004, popcorn has been the official state snack in Illinois.

NUTRITION 

Popcorn is by far the healthiest snack. It builds bone, muscle, tissue, aids digestion, and is good for the teeth.

Popcorn has more protein than any other cereal grain.

Popcorn has more iron than eggs, peanuts, spinach, or roast beef.

Popcorn has more phosphorous and fiber than potato chips, ice cream cones, or pretzels.

POPPING 

Popcorn is the only type of corn that will pop.

There are three main elements of popcorn that have to come together to produce popcorn kernels that are good for popping. Those three elements are: the percentage of water content; a hard, undamaged, water impermeable shell; and a starchy center.

The popping of popcorn is caused by the expansion of the starch and a droplet of water that is stored in a small circle of soft starch in each kernel. As the kernel is heated, the water heats, the droplet of moisture turns to steam and the steam builds up pressure until the kernel finally explodes to many times its original volume.

Popcorn kernels can pop up to 3 feet in the air.

Popped popcorn comes in two basic shapes: butterfly and mushroom. Tyrrells use butterfly corn - heat makes the wings pop open in the popcorn kettle, perfect for holding delicious flavors like Coconut and Caramel and Lemon Cupcake.

Mushroom"-shaped popcorn, left, "butterfly"-shaped, right. By User:Bunchofgrapes  

Unpopped kernels of corn left in a popcorn machine are known as “spinsters” or “old maids”.

Sources Food For Thought by Ed Pearce, Daily Express, Female First

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