Did you know that October is National Popcorn Poppin' Month? Me neither. I looked into a bit a found out a whole lot about popcorn that I didn't know and probably never needed to know.
Like that popcorn was discovered by American Indians thousands of years ago. Supposedly, the Indians believed that the popping noise came from a tiny god who lived in the kernel and got mad when it got too hot in there. Maybe they were spending a little too much time smoking the peace pipe.
The Indians took popcorn to the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims. It sounds tacky, but then again, the Pilgrims had never seen popcorn before. It was probably a magical, mystical thing to bring to dinner.
Did you know that popcorn and movies didn't always go together? Theater owners didn't really like the popcorn vendors who set up shop outside the movies hoping to snatch up some customers.
The theater owners used to chase them away. They thought the vendors would take money away from their ticket sales if people were spending their money on popcorn instead.
Eventually, they figured it out that the movie-goers were buying the popcorn and bringing it in to the movie with them. So, they decided to invite the vendors inside to hawk their wares -- if they split their profits with the theater.
Later, when the greed really took over, the theater owners decided they didn't need the vendors at all. They could make the popcorn all by themselves.
Did you know that for every dollar customers spend on popcorn, there is 90 cents pure profit for the seller? Forget about setting up a lemonade stand.
And the theaters eventually learned that salty popcorn makes people thirsty, so then they could sell them soft drinks to go with it. Not bad work, if you can get it.
Did you know that the popcorn was the first food to be deliberately and successfully cooked in a microwave oven? The word "deliberately" is a big one here. The guy who was working on inventing the first microwave oven in 1945 had a candy bar in his pocket at the time. And it melted.
Does it scare anyone else but me that the chocolate in his pocket melted because of the microwave rays? Do you suppose it damaged anything else in (or near) his pockets?
The second thing they tried to cook in a microwave was an egg -- and it blew up in some guy's face. I can relate to that.
I know from personal experience that if you put a peeled hard-boiled egg in a microwave for just a few seconds and then so much as touch it with a fork, it will blow up in your face … and your hair … and on the ceiling … and the walls …
My dog, Duke, has experience with microwaves, too. He knows that when it dings, whatever is in there is done. The popcorn popping noise is just an added attraction as he sits there staring up at the edge of the counter waiting for the tell-all signal.
Unfortunately for him, he doesn't really like popcorn. And that fact sort of eludes him right up until he tastes it again.
He'll sit there just begging for it until someone will finally give in and toss him a piece. He catches it and immediately spits it back at the sender. If you throw anymore at him, just to test his "I don't like popcorn" theory one more time, all you're going to do is put his eye out because he won't even attempt to catch a second piece.
My mom used to use popcorn as a packing material when she sent cookies to two of my brothers when they were in the Army.
She always got the same thing from the post office clerk. "Is your son in the military?"
"Nope. It's my daughter's brother. He's no relation to me," she said, and just left it at that.
She was right, my mom wasn't related to all my siblings, but that was sort of cruel to leave the clerk hanging like that.
I am one of nine children, but I am an only child. As are three of my siblings. I have four brothers and four sisters, by blood or by legal bond, in my very blended family. Try to figure that one out.
And do it over a big bowl of popcorn. You have a ways to go if you're going to hit the national average of 54 quarts of popcorn each person eats every year.
Copyright 2013 Laura Nethken