Most corn (that’s maize, to people outside the United States) will pop a little, but popcorn is a particular kind, grown to pop.
Popping relates to the moisture content of a kernel, and under heat the moisture converts to steam and the kernel explodes just like the boiler of a steamship exploding. Typically popcorn is harvested and then dried until optimal moisture content is reached.
Popcorn, like all corn, was domesticated by peoples native to the America, and domesticated thousands of years ago, likely in what today is Mexico. The Spanish conquerors found popcorn in Mexico and French Jesuit missionaries found Indian peoples popping popcorn in the Great Lakes region.
Popcorn was adopted as a snack by some of the English colonists, who sometimes cooked it with molasses, but it did not become the most common American snack until around 1900.
It became a widely eaten snack because of two things. A steam powered popcorn popper was invented in the 1890s and was popularized at the Chicago Exposition, a World’s Fair, in 1893, and in the 1930s movie theaters discovered that popcorn was an ideal accompaniment to films, cheap and highly profitable.
Theaters and popcorn machines greatly increased the popularity of popcorn. And some genius added melted butter. The invention of the microwave and of microwaved popcorn has made popcorn nearly universal in the US. It’s fast and easy to prepare.
Most popcorn eaters don’t know that popped popcorn comes in two basic shapes, the roundish “mushroom” and the irregularly shaped “butterfly.” Butterfly popcorn has a better mouth feel, but mushroom is sturdier and is used for processed popcorn snacks, such as caramel corn.
Popcorn is now a fairly popular snack worldwide, but it remains the most popular where the popping began, in the United States.
Deep knowledge,and happy reading.
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