History and trivia about my favorite snack...POPCORN

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by pete, Mar 15, 2002.

  1. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I love popcorn! I mean I really love popcorn!! A week doesn't go by without it making an appearance at least once or twice in my household. My whole family is the same way, and during family get togethers it is often made every single night. That said, I thought it would be fun to present a brief history and some interesting facts about one of my favorite foods:

    -corn is known to be at least 80,000 years old as pollen of this age has been found and is almost indistinguishable from modern corn. Of the many varieties of edible corn, popcorn is thought to be the oldest

    -the oldest ears of popcorn are over 5600 years old and were discovered in a New Mexican cave, while researchers found popcorn kernals so well perserved, in Peru that these 1000 year old kernals still popped

    -many Native Americans believed that spirits lived in popcorn. These spirits were content to dwell within the corn until heated, when the disgruntled spirit would take his leave causing the corn to explode

    -Both Colombus and Cortez observed natives using popcorn (both cobs and popped) as personal adornments, and in use during important religious ceremonies.

    -Popcorn was brought by the Indians to be served at the first Thanksgiving held by the Pilgrims

    -At that time over 700 varieties, of popcorn, were known to exsist

    -Early colonists sometimes served popcorn for breakfast with cream and sugar (the first puffed cearal)

    -Native Americans used to pop corn right on the cob by sticking a stick into the end of the cob and holding it over a fire

    -some natives also brewed a beer-like drink from popcorn

    -and finally, some tribes in Southwestern US created clay vessels 8 feet wide to popcorn for tribal and community events.
     
  2. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    :lol:

    I don't believe you Pete!!!

    Great thread!

    Let's do some reading...:cool:
     
  3. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    I've got a cool strain of strawberry popcorn...tiny bright white when popped and dark red husk.
    Several of the farmers around here raise popcorn on the cob, organic blue, white and yellow....
    A few years ago I started popping corn in olive oil, it gave a rich taste without adding butter.
    Last year we had a class with a farmer talking about how he raises popcorn and I made popcorn balls for 40 8th graders.....boy that syrup took forever to cook.
     
  4. foodnfoto

    foodnfoto

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    Wow Pete, it's nice to know someone else shares my popcorn obsession. I'm known around here for eating popcorn just about everyday. I love it so much, I warm my Wilton Armatal bowl in the toaster before pouring my hot pop in.
    Thanks for all the interesting historical notes. Now I know I'm not just crazy.
     
  5. momoreg

    momoreg

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    That was a fun read.:)
     
  6. cape chef

    cape chef

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    A quote from Betty Fussel in 1992.

    " popcorn is truly indigenous fast finger-food that links all ages, places, races, classes and kinds in the continuing circus of American life. Popcorn is the great equalizer, which turns itself inside out to attest to our faith that colour is only skin deep and class superfluous"

    I like popcorn to
     
  7. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    What a great quote CC!!
     
  8. isa

    isa

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    Reading Shroom's post reminded me of the pink popcorn I ate as a kid. Haven't seen that around in ages.


    There is something addictive about movie theater popcorn, once in a while you just have to get some.
     
  9. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Has anyone else tried Garetts Popcorn, in Chicago. Bar none, it is the best, store bought popcorn ever. The best is to buy a half and half of caramel corn and cheese corn. I know it sounds weird, but trust me (as a popcorn connissier) it tastes great. The only problem with Garett's is that there is almost always a line, and during the holiday season, with so many tourists in town, that line can stretch for over a block!!
     
  10. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Here is a quick recipe for Kettle corn that you can make at home. For those of you who are not familiar with it, kettle corn is a slightly sweetened version of popcorn, that was made popular in the 1700's. It was a treat traditionally saved for after a day of rendering lard. After the lard was poured out, the greased kettle was used to make this treat.

    1. Fill your popcorn popper with the recommended amount of popcorn and oil.

    2. Add approximately 2-3oz. of sugar (more if you like it sweeter, less if less sweet is more to your taste)

    3. Add about 1-2 teaspoons of salt

    4. Pop corn according to your popper

    5. When finished pour out popcorn and allow to cool for a few minutes.

    Never leave this alone while cooking, with that sugar in there it doesn't take much (just a few seconds of not stirring) and you can end up with a blackened mess. I really like this stuff, as it is not as sweet as caramel corn (though I love caramel corn also).
     
  11. isa

    isa

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    Pete, have you tried the corn cobs you put in the microwave and they pop? It's like popcorn on the cobs. One day I'll have to try this.
     
  12. monpetitchoux

    monpetitchoux

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    I was craving a bag of Smartfood just today. Yes, the freshly popped popcorn is really superb tasting, but there's something about the lightly cheesiness of smartfood that just appeals to me.

    Any folks living in New York City in the 1980's remember the string of popcorn (can't help that one) shops that popped up (nor this one) all over Manhattan? I loved eating the butter toffee one. I know, popcorn purists will get all over me on this one. But I love to eat popcorn sweet.

    Anyone heard about soaking popcorn before popping tp maximize yield? How's it work?
     
  13. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Maybe it's good idea to continue the discussion about popcorn recipes in this lovely thread :)

    A Jones for Popcorn
     
  14. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    You should not soak popcorn in water, it will become too waterlogged. If your popcorn is very old (old?, a bag never lasts more than a few weeks in my house) you can pour it into a jar, add a few tablespoons of water, and seal it for a few days. This will allow it to rehydrate somewhat, giving a fluffier pop. This is what the researchers did when they found the 1000 year old popcorn, before popping it.

    Another fun bit about popcorn. One of the earliest methods of popping corn was to throw the kernals onto a large, flat rock that had been heated by a fire. Not only did they get a good snack, but a good workout trying to catch all the popping kernals.;)
     
  15. mofo1

    mofo1

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    I would ask any of you that love popcorn to seek out Black Jewel Popcorn. It is grown in St Francisville, Il. This is in a very economically depressed part of Southern Illinois. It is also the area I grew up in. This popcorn is black as coal until popped, then it becomes snow white, fluffy, crunchy and delicious. Try it. You'll like it. I should add that I have no economic interest in this product. Just like to see my old stomping grounds prosper, plus it is a darn good product.:lips:
     
  16. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    I've cooked the popcorn on the cob.....bizarre, most stayed on the cob and it's hard to regulate burned and unpopped.
     
  17. isa

    isa

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    Tahnks Shroom.


    Was it good? Better than regular popcorn?
     
  18. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    novel is the word that comes to mind.....fun, entertaining but not an all the time deal.
     
  19. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    There is a great article by food historian Andrew F Smith on Popcorn which he submitted to cheftalk. You can check it out here:
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
  20. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Cool article. Thanks Nicko!!