The Bottom Line: Quick facts about popcorn!
The Full Story:
- In ancient times, corn wasn’t always corn. The term corn was used to describe the most common grain used in a specific place. Because the grain most commonly used varied from country to country and region to region, corn in Egypt and corn in France were not likely the same grain. What we call corn today is actually maize, which is believed to be native to Mexico.
- The oldest ears of popcorn ever found came from Mexico and are over 4000 years old.
- When explorer Felix de Azara visited Paraguay in the 18th century, he noted that the people would place kernels on a tassel and then when it was boiled in fat or oil, the grains would burst. Women would adorn their hair at night with the popcorn.
- Popcorn joined the mobile generation in 1893 when inventor Charles Cretors introduced the first moveable popcorn machine at the World’s Columbian Expositionin Chicago.
- Because it remained a relatively lost cost item, popcorn maintained its popularity through the Great Depression – and really, saved the industry.
- Popped popcorn comes in two shapes: “snowflake” or “mushroom.” Because “snowflake” shaped popcorn is bigger, movie theaters typically sell that shape.
- Sugar shortages during WWII made candy hard to come by, catapulting popcorn consumption to three times its pre-war levels.
- Popcorn hit a career slump when televisions started making their way into American homes impacting the sale of movie tickets and the sale of popcorn, which was primarily consumed at the movies.
- Americans have been popping corn since long before the first European explorers arrived which makes popcorn one of our most popular Native American traditions.
- Before stoves and microwaves, hot sand was used to provide the right kind of heat to make corn kernels pop.
- Americans eat around 17 billion quarts of popcorn every year. This amount would fill the Empire State Building 18 times
- Popcorn is the official snack of Illinois.
- Popcorn kernels can pop up to three-feet in the air.
- The world’s largest popcorn ball was 12-feet in diameter and weighed 5,000-pounds. It required 2,000-pounds of corn, 40,000-pounds of sugar, 280-gallons of corn syrup, and 400-gallons of water.