Popcorn – the ultimate snack

PopcornI am a huge fan of popcorn. You can never have too much of it, I think. My flat mate and I have been known to make sometimes 4 batches or more per week… it isn’t a new trend for me – I used to get ‘paid’ in popcorn when I cut peoples’ hair at university. Students have no money anyway so that was quite a good rate of exchange! Then last year I visited my brother and his family who live in Lusaka, Zambia, and I discovered that a DVD and a batch of popcorn is a regular treat there too.

On an aside, my brother and his family like their popcorn sprinkled with ‘salt-and-vinegar’ spice or Aromat. What do you flavour your popcorn with?

Popcorn and the Film Industry

When I was studying Film at Uni I came across a great article about popcorn’s origins in cinema so I thought I’d share a few interesting facts:

  • Popcorn has both advocates and detractors. Depending on how it’s prepared and cooked, some consider it to be a health food while others caution against it. Popcorn can also have non-food applications, ranging from holiday decorations to packaging materials!
  • According to Wiki (pedia, not leaks) popcorn finds its origins thousands of years back, first discovered among Native Americans.
  • During the Great Depression, popcorn was comparatively and became popular. While other businesses failed, the popcorn business thrived. During World War II, sugar rations diminished sweet production, causing Americans to eat three times more popcorn than they had before.
  • The following ALL claim to be the “Popcorn Capital of the World”: Ridgway, Illinois; Valparaiso, Indiana; Van Buren, Indiana; Schaller, Iowa; Marion, Ohio; and North Loup, Nebraska. But most of the maize used for popcorn is grown in Nebraska and Indiana.
  • Each kernel of popcorn contains moisture and oil and its outer hull is very hard. As the oil and the water inside are heated past the boiling point, they turn into superheated pressurized steam capsules. Under so much pressure and at a temperature of about 180 °C (356 °F), the hull ruptures rapidly, its insides burst out and set into the familiar crispy puff. What torture for our pleasure!
  • Carnivals sold popcorn as far back as the 19century and then when films became popular, venders sold popcorn outside cinemas. This made cinema owners at first very angry, but they realized the business potential and since 1912 popcorn has been sold inside cinemas.
  • Many cinemas make a greater profit from popcorn (and drinks because popcorn makes you thirsty) than from ticket sales.
  • Un-popped popcorn kernels are called ‘old maids’ or ‘spinsters’ – which by the way, I think is very cruel!
  • Peak consumption of popcorn is autumn. Mmmmmm, when it’s getting colder and darker – I get that, although the season in my house is really all-year-round.


Interestingly enough, I have come across a few people who cannot bring themselves to even go to the cinema because of the fear and irritation of popcorn-crunching. Interesting!

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