Wednesday, November 24, 2010


   Popcorn is considered a junk food but if it is it is one of the healthiest junk foods around.  It actually has some things in it that are good for you like fiber.  You can eat a lot of popcorn before it adds up calories.  four cups of popcorn has only 92 calories and only 1 gram of fat if it is popped with hot air.  These numbers are more if you pop your popcorn in oil.  The nutritional value of popcorn is 71% starch with other carbohydrates, 10% protein, 3% fat and there are a trace of vitamins and minerals and 14% of the kernel is water.  If you pop your popcorn with a hot air popper it has much less fat than if you use oil methods.
   Popcorn has a hard kernel and when the kernel dries a little water is sealed inside the popcorn kernel so when the kernel gets heated up to a certain temperature the water inside the kernel actually boils and the pressure causes the kernel to pop into popcorn.  It literally turns itself inside out when it pops,  showing off its white interior.

   The native Americans brought popcorn to the world, cobs of corn have been found that date back to 5,600 B.C.  Native Americans believed that tiny demons lived inside each kernel of corn and when the demon's house was heated, the demon would get mad and he would explode.  Or possibly the demon would escape in the explosion.  The Native Americans first introduced popcorn to the European settlers at the very first Thanksgiving meal in 1621.  Popcorn was part of the feast and in the morning some of the popcorn was left over from the feast, so the Pilgrims poured milk and sugar on the leftover popcorn and ate it for their breakfast.  That was probably the first puffed cereal.  Popcorn was called popped corn, parched corn, or rice corn.  It didn't get the name popcorn until about 1820.
   In the early 1920's, silent films were being shown and street vendors would set up their popcorn machines outside the movie houses and before going into the movie, many people would buy some popcorn to enjoy during the film.  At first the theater owners hated the mess the popcorn would make to their theaters, but soon the theater owners realized how much the patrons liked having the popcorn and they soon put popcorn into the lobbies of the theaters for the patrons to buy right in the theater.  The theater owners got used to cleanng up the mess that the popcorn would make and they made money selling the popcorn to their customers.

   Today popcorn is still a popular movie food.  We American's love to eat our popcorn while we watch a good movie.  American's eat over 17 billion quarts of popcorn a year and the average American eats about 68 quarts all by themselves.  Only about 30 percent of the popcorn we eat is from the movies or sporting events.  The other 70 percent is what we eat at home.  American's love their popcorn.  It is one snack that has lasted throughout the history of the United States.

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