When did Americans start eating popcorn?
Native Americans popped corn for untold years, by placing the kernels in hot sand, as only one example. When the settlers arrived, they were not greeted by bowls of popcorn, as some suggested, and no evidence exists that popcorn was served at the first Thanksgiving table if, in fact, there was one. BUT – the Colonist did eat popcorn, most notably as cereal, served with cream and sugar. Popcorn took off in the mid-1800s and found a place in the budding American fun-food kingdom at the end of the 19th century, thanks, in part, to industrialization and the making of portable popcorn poppers.
Did you know:
- The first use of corn by humans was popcorn.
- Popcorn was the second snack food known to Americans. Peanuts were the first.
- Popcorn is one of the healthiest snack/fun foods around – high in fiber and low in calories.
- Popcorn is exceptionally popular – according to a recent study, 92% of people surveyed like popcorn.
- Today, popcorn is the highest selling snack food by volume.
What were the first flavors popcorn flavors people enjoyed?
The first commercial popcorn may have been “sugared” or coated with molasses, but most was salted and buttered, much like the popcorn of today. By the end of the 19th century, a universe of possibilities appeared, including the molasses and peanut based Cracker Jacks, made commercially and at home. Other favorites evolved in rapid order such as chocolate-covered, still popular today. In the early 1900s, other flavors emerged, such as caramel popcorn.
When did people start eating popcorn in movie theaters?
Popcorn vendors appeared outside movie houses since the beginning of movies. Movie house proprietors tolerated them, but didn’t want them actually inside where their popcorn would litter the floor. Their sentiment evolved gradually – some allowed vendors to walk up and down the aisles selling their popcorn, much like vendors at ballgames still do today. Others let them sell popcorn in the lobbies. Then came the Depression. Movie house owners were strapped for cash and popcorn was the answer. The smell welcomed people in. The price was affordable. And the the appeal… basically limitless. Movie theater popcorn became a staple, and still is, even in living room “theaters” at home. Today the microwavable variety has taken over for at-home viewing, with bagged popcorn right behind it.