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Facts on Popcorn

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

top 10 facts about popcornContributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman

Popcorn. It’s the stuff of slumber parties and carnivals. And what would a movie be without hot, buttery popcorn? You might think you know all there is to know about popcorn.

But do you know when it became a standard part of watching movies? Or where popcorn originated? No? Read on to answer these and other facts about popcorn.

10. How much popcorn do we eat?

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top 10 facts about popcorn american eat a lot

Americans eat about 16 billion (yes, that is a “b”) quarts of popcorn every year. That comes to over 50 quarts per person old enough to eat this fluffy treat.

Most of that popcorn is still the old-fashioned salt (or salt and butter) variety, but increasingly gourmet flavored popcorns and kettle corn are the choice for party snacks and popcorn gifts.

9. Popcorn’s a genuine antique!

top 10 facts about popcorn history aztecs

The oldest popcorn found so far was from about 4,000 years ago, and was found in a cave in New Mexico. Ihe the 16th century, popcorn was an important part of Aztec ceremonies. They also used it as a treat, just like we do! So this delicious snack has a long pedigree.

8. Popcorn is a dieter’s dream

top 10 facts about popcorn diet food

A full cup of hot and fluffy air-popped popcorn has only 31 tiny calories. Prefer it with butter? It’s still a waist-friendly treat, with only 55 calories a cup. Compare that to a typical chocolate chip cookie, which weighs in at about 170 calories, and even buttered popcorn wins hands down.

7. What goes in your microwave?

top 10 facts about popcorn microwave

Popcorn remains one of the leading uses for home microwave ovens. In fact it played an important role in the development of the earliest microwaves, back in the 1940’s. The very first food to be “nuked” was popcorn.

Today, the food is such a popular choice for microwave cooking that most ovens have a separate popcorn button.

6. The popcorn ball that ate Lake Forest, IL

top 10 facts about popcorn worlds largest popcorn ball

Okay, so it didn’t actually eat the town, but at 3,415 pounds, with an 8′ diameter it sure sounds like it could have. This world-record popcorn ball, which is almost 50,000 times larger than the average edible popcorn ball, is on display at the headquarters of The Popcorn Factory, and is a favorite of young visitors.

5. Popcorn has a day all its own

top 10 facts about popcorn national popcorn day

We all know there’s Mother’s Day. And there’s Father’s Day. But how about a National Popcorn Day? Fear not! Our nation’s favorite salty snack does indeed have a day all its own. Sort of. You see, some people say it falls on January 19th. But others place it on Superbowl Sunday, when popcorn is almost always on the menu. But no matter when you celebrate it, do make sure you pop enough for everyone (including the birds, who love to munch on balls made of popcorn and peanut butter!)

4. Popcorn on the move

top 10 facts about popcorn portable popcorn popper

The popularity of popcorn as a snack in the U.S. took a huge leap when the first portable popcorn popper was invented in 1885. Within a few years of that, the first “movies” were released, and from the start, popcorn was right there.

The movable popper allowed vendors to congregate outside of theaters and sell popcorn to people going inside to watch the show. From that point on, the match between movies and popcorn was set.

3. Party with the popcorn

top 10 facts about popcorn popcorn festival

Every September, people gather in Marion, Indiana for the annual Marion Popcorn Festival. This 32 year old festival brings popcorn fans from around the country together for three days of music, sporting events, competitions, carnival rides, and of course, lots and lots of popcorn.

2. WWII was good for the popcorn industry

top 10 facts about popcorn wwii movie popcorn

During World War II, many foods were rationed … or simply not available at all. One of the most precious ingredients was sugar. Little or no sugar meant little or no candy. But movies were big business during the war, and hungry movie-goers wanted snacks.

Without candy to compete with popcorn, the bond that had been formed between movies and popcorn back in the early 1900’s grew much stronger, until most patrons could not imagine watching a film without digging their hands into that buttery, salty treat. (Interestingly, the use of butter substitutes like margarine also increased during the war, and continues to be the “butter” of choice in movie theaters today.)

1. Popcorn has its own museums!

top 10 facts about popcorn museums

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As a matter of fact, there are two museums dedicated entirely to the history of popcorn and popcorn making machines. The J.H. Fentress museum located in Ohio and the Marion Popcorn Museum in Marion, Indiana. Both include large collections of antique and collectible popcorn popping machines, popcorn bags, boxes and a variety of advertising materials.

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