Today, January 19th, is recognized as National Popcorn Day.
According to the Popcorn Board, wild and early cultivated corn was first used for popping. The oldest ears of popcorn ever found were discovered in the Bat Cave of west central New Mexico in 1948 and 1950. Ranging from smaller than a penny to about 2 inches, with the oldest being approximately 4,000 years old.
Although we often associated the word “popcorn” with puffed corn, it is actually a strain of corn, which exhibits qualities of starchy kernels with hard kernel walls.
When placed over head the internal pressure builds, creating the staple snack food. It is believed that popcorn was essential to Aztec Indian ceremonies in the early 16th century, and kernels have been found in burial grounds in South America in the coastal deserts of North Chile that were preserved so well they would still pop even after 1,000 years.
Today, popcorn is associated with carnivals, holidays, and sporting events. At the county fair, we shell out money for huge bags of the salty, buttery snack. At Christmas, we string it along and place it on the tree. At Halloween we make it into ball forms to pass along to trick-or-treaters, and at the big game we eat it by the box.
However, it is hard to forget maybe the most common partnership; popcorn and movie theaters.
What began as a ploy during the Great Depression to get people into the theaters has remained strong just shy of 100 years later. Now it’s hard to not grab a bag, or bucket, of buttery popcorn on your way to see the latest blockbuster.
“We probably go through two 35 pound bags of kernels here on a busy night. Butter isn’t as drastic, we go through around 35 pounds of butter, one bag, in two days,” said Assistant Manager of Portsmouth 8 Cinema, Cindy Yazell. According to Yazell, although the cinema offers six different popcorn sizes, the most popular size sold is the cinema’s unbeatable deal, which is 46 ounces. The biggest size they offer is the popcorn tub which is a whopping 170 ounces, made to share.
Make sure to celebrate national popcorn day with a bag or bowl of your favorite popcorn variety.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932