Who was it that first discovered the magical potential hidden within every kernel of corn?
That healthy snack, light as air… that burst of white, crunchy happiness?
Honestly the best i can do is source corn husk findings in ancient peru. (If your imagination was going in the direction of Native Americans sitting around ingesting mouthfuls on a scorching hot day...enjoy the imagery, just double check the continent.) But, really, how did popcorn evolve from a supposed ancient Peruvian munching habit to becoming America’s #1 favorite snack?
Columbus and his crew were possibly the first Westerners to gaze curiously at corn (and yes, the first to excitedly watch the kernels crackle with the Natives) but they still had no popcorn machines until 1885. When candy and other munchables were inaccessible during WWII, America turned to its ever-plentiful corn fields for a cheap alternative and when TV took over the American lifestyle, the consumption of popcorn rose 500%!
Lately, corn has been getting a bad rap for all the genetic modifications, over-processing, and being added to almost every product on your grocery shelf. So allow me to take you back to a corn age-of-innocence of sorts, where its just you, the kernels and a delightful explosion of creativity. Low in calories, with a relatively high fiber content, plain air-popped popcorn will have your nutritionist beaming at your snacking choices. In addition, its neutral nature is graciously versatile. The sky's the limit for fun combinations! To attain optimum flavor, air pop the corn on a stovetop as close to the time of serving as possible. If time is of the essence, store-bought popcorn will do (try to find unsalted or just cut out the salt when called for in a recipe). So, for whomever it was that gave us the gift of popcorn, let’s throw a party and serve everyone’s favorite party food!
For more about popcorn and how to air pop in the microwave with a paper bag click here.
For 20 different ways to flavor your popcorn browse here.
As seen in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine (February/March 2013) - Subscribe Now.