Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Do You Like Popcorn...?

I know that I do! In fact, I guess that popcorn is one of my favorite snacks.

Not only is popcorn a tasty snack, but it is actually a healthy one. Another good thing about this marvelous food is that it makes a very practical food for long term storage. It grinds well into meal, which makes it a double duty storage food with a very long shelf life!

Popcorn has been around for a long time, and as such have spawned a vast array of ways to make it pop! We may think that popcorn poppers are a new invention, but how wrong we would be!

I found this article about the history of popcorn poppers and I thought you might enjoy it.

The Unusual History of Popcorn Machines
By:Christine Harrell

Popcorn machines have been around for more than 4,000 years and have evolved considerably since. These machines now use electricity to heat oil or air to heat large batches of corn kernels at a time. You can even make popcorn in the microwave or over an open fire in convenient packages. The earliest machines, however, look nothing like they do now.

Primitive Popcorn Machines

When an ancient culture in New Mexico discovered that a certain type of corn would 'pop' when it was heated, they immediately designed the world's earliest version of the popcorn machine. They would heat fine sand in the fire and add the kernels into the sand to make them pop.

Other cultures of the time made a game of popping popcorn. They would heat stones on the fire as hot as they could and pour the seeds onto it. The people of the village would then gather around the stones and catch the grains as they popped and flew into the air.

Eventually, primitive popcorn poppers became more popular and the snack quickly became an important part of several cultures. Many 4th century Mexican cultures would include popcorn kernels inside their funeral urns as an offering to the spirits in order to secure a safe passage to the next life. Native American tribes that appeared years later believed that spirits lived inside the kernels. The natives thought that the kernels popped when the extreme heat would anger the spirits.

Years later, Native North American cultures created prehistoric popcorn machines as well. However, popcorn became a staple food rather than a treat. The Iroquois tribes would use heated pottery to cook the kernels and use them to create foods such as soup and an early variety of breakfast cereal. Others would boil animal fat and simply dip the cob into it to cook.

The Evolution Of Popcorn Machines

By the 17th century, popcorn had become a common sight in the household, and due to the increase in demand, the race was on to come up with an easier way to crack the corn husks. Blacksmiths started to make popcorn machines by fashioning metal cones out of flat iron. Then, they threaded a metal spit into the center of the contraption so that it could rotate over the fire to prevent the corn kernels from burning.

In 1885, Charles Cretors designed and created the first of a long line of popcorn machines in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Cretors owned a sweet shop and had purchase a peanut roasting machine that didn't work as well as it should have. He soon altered the machine and began selling his products in and around the area via traveling salesmen as well as through his store. Eight years later, he attended the Chicago Columbian Exposition with his new machine and history was born.

Popcorn machines experienced widespread growth during the 1900s. Following his success at the Exposition in 1893, Charles Cretors mounted his corn popper onto a carriage creating the world's first mobile popcorn cart and made the world's first electric version a short time later. When it came to the actual selling of the machines, Fred Hoke and James Holcomb of Holcomb & Hoke Co beat Mr. Cretors to the punch in 1914. With prices ranging between $400 and $1300, these machines sold like hotcakes until the Great Depression caused the company to cease operations in 1934.

Today, popcorn machines look nothing like their earlier counterparts. They are available in virtually any size and create many different flavors and varieties of popcorn. The sleek and customizable machines are everywhere producing popcorn in mere minutes.

Now, how about some coffee on the patio? Here's a bowl of popcorn to snack on and feed to the birds! They love it!


K.D.Storm said...

Just had some tonight at the movies. I swore I wasn't going to but when my friend offered me some I pigged out like crazy. I guess one just can't say no to a bag of the hot warm buttery pleasure that is popcorn. Have a great day :)

HermitJim said...

Hey K.D....
Nothing beats that taste...and certainly nothing has that "make your mouth water" smell when it's done!

Only smell that can beat popcorn, is that of fresh brewed coffee!

Hey, thanks for coming by today!

Momlady said...

There's nothing like a bowl of hot fresh popped buttered popcorn (with a little salt) and a good movie on a nasty day.

LizBeth said...

Wish I could get a bottle of Mission Orange soda pop to go with the popcorn!


HermitJim said...

Hey Momlady...
Does make for an enjoyable way to spend the day, doesn't it?

I think that popcorn must fall into the "comfort food" category for sure!

Hey, thanks for coming by today, my friend!

Hey LizBeth...
I'll bet I could find you some good old Mission orange soda! Least I could do for my friends, right?

I do appreciate you coming by!

JoJo said...

Good Morning My Special One, Now that was very interesting. I love pop corn too. I just wish someone would figure out how to get rid of that pesky hull stuff that love to get caught on the back of your tongue. :P

Anonymous said...

Hi HJ, you prompted another post from me on Genes.
Linked of course.

Popcorn was always a favourite TV snack with my stepkids, if they had their way I would have been chained to the stove makin' the stuff. They considered it mana from heaven.


Mechanic in Illinois said...

We use popcorn as catfish bait. Works best in ponds. Sorry I couldn't talk earlier,I was out with my son killing turkeys and coyotes. He got a nice tom and I got 2 coyotes. Not a bad day,thanks for another great lesson.

HermitJim said...

Hey AV...
I think that most kids really like popcorn, which isn't such a bad thing!

Healthier than most snacks, and so much easier to fix than some other things.

Hey, thanks for coming by today!

hey Mechanic...
Congrats on the good hunting day! A day spent outside with a good hunting buddy is hard to beat!

Thanks for dropping in today!

Stephen and Lovell Nix said...

Great to find your blog! I'm going to start following your posts. I have a preparedness blog where I wrote some on popcorn as well. Perhaps you would find it interesting. I don't know if it is poor etiquette or not...but here is the link...