NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- When you think "the movies," do you also think popcorn? With the biggest film night of the year coming up on Sunday, New Canaan resident Penny Klatell, who blogs at EatOutEatWell , says a good percentage of movie viewing people do.
Her blog points out the history -- as well as some fun recipes (bacon bourbon caramel anyone?) -- of popcorn, just in time for the Oscars.
According to her research, the puffy goodness we know as popcorn is a strain of corn (from maize) cultivated in Central America about 8,000 years ago. North American whalers probably brought popcorn to New England from Chile in the early 19th century. Popping popcorn was fun and its appeal spread across the country.
By the mid-1800s, popcorn was widely available, especially at places such as circuses and fairs. The invention of the steam-powered popcorn maker in 1885 meant popcorn could be made anywhere. Amazingly, the only place where it wasn’t available was in theaters, which typically had carpeted floors. Theater owners didn’t want popcorn “dirtying” up the place.
Because of its popularity, theater owners eventually began to allow vendors to sell popcorn outside their theaters. During the Great Depression, people looked for cheap diversions and movies were it. Popcorn -- at 5 to 10 cents a bag -- was an affordable luxury.
Theater owners began to lease their lobbies to popcorn vendors but figured they could make more money by selling it themselves. By 1945, over half of the popcorn eaten in the U.S. was consumed in movie theaters.
And, it's still king. Americans eat, on average, about 13 gallons of popcorn a year.
So, this Sunday, as you prop your feet up to watch the glamorous stars grab their golden statues at the Academy Awards, make sure you have a good supply on hand.
You don’t have to settle for the plain variety – unless you want to. Check out these recipes for bacon bourbon caramel , cinnamon candy (red, like the red carpet), peanut butter and endless caramel corn.
Go here for the full blog.
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