History Of Popcorn
Get popping with the history of popcorn. This popular snack food has a long history. Corn has been widely used for food throughout history and one of its first uses was probably popping. Corn was mentioned in the Bible but the term probably meant barley.
In 1948, ears of corn that were approximately 4,000 years old were found in a bat cave in west central New Mexico. This type of corn was the kind commonly used as popcorn and showed signs that it had been used as such. The sizes of the ears of popcorn ranged from smaller than a penny to 2 inches long.
In the 16th century Aztec Indians used popcorn in ceremonies. Writings from this time period have stated that popcorn was used in a dance that the woman would do. They would make popcorn garlands to wear on their heads. The ceremony was done for the gods, including the god of fertility Tlaloc. In 1519 Cortes documented the use of popcorn in ceremonies and its importance as a food.
In 1650, the Spaniard Cobo recorded, "They toast a certain kind of corn until it bursts. They call it pisancalla, and they use it as a confection." His findings were one of the first documentations of how popcorn is made.
During the Depression popcorn became even more popular. At five to ten cents a bag, it was one of the few treats that people could still afford. Street vendors would follow crowds, while pushing steam or gas-powered poppers. In the 1940s popcorn became even more popular with the invention of the microwave. To this day Americans consume 17 billion quarts of popcorn a year.