POP! We can all point out that delightful smell that comes pouring out of our microwaves, or if your all old fashioned, the stove-top. Yep, you guessed it, popcorn!
I'm pretty sure we've all had popcorn at some point in our lives. Its kind of a traditional American snack, wouldn't you say? The original buttery, kind of salty taste typically reminds most people of the movie cinema. As a child i vividly remember staring into that huge fish tank, completely filled to the top with perfectly popped kernels of popcorn. Watching as the guy behind the counter fills each obnoxious cardboard tub till the point where it overflows with the finger-licking snack, i could feel nothing but pure jealousy. Why you may ask? The answer to that question can be answered simply because daddy said no. According to him, popcorn is a health no-no. But guess what dad?! EAT THIS.
Zea mays everta. Now, you’re probably thinking, ‘huh?’, but that, my friend, is the scientific name for popcorn. Sounds kind of healthy, wouldn’t you say, dad? First found in the ancient caves of New Mexico, popcorn remains a favorite among many. This wonderful creation comes directly from corn (obviously).
When I was really little, probably around the age of six; my brother and I, we’d sit at the kitchen table throwing popcorn into each others mouths, trying to catch them. Of course mom had to clean it up off the floor since about one kernel every twenty actually made it in. But anyways, we would have so much fun, just sitting there for hours. Popcorn was perfect for the task. Not to heavy that if you miss it hurts, and not to light that it physically doesn’t go anywhere when you throw it, like paper. One after another, we’d just throw them. Alternating turns and getting a good laugh every time we missed; and made it for that matter, it just never got old!
As we played this continuous game of making a mess, we would always ask my mom the same question; how does popcorn pop? I mean come on now, everyone wonders this! My mom would always answer back, that its just the way life is and that’s that. So there we sat, me and my brother, pondering the thought, coming to the conclusion- Mom was right.
Now it’s like almost 10 years later, and I still have yet to arrive at an answer. Being in High School, with a totally different mindset from my six-year-old-self, the question still clogs my brain. What makes pop corn pop?!
It’s summer now, before sophomore year and I’m at a sleepover with my two best friends, doing the usual; movie night! The two of them set up the living room and as always, it’s my job to make the popcorn. I go into the kitchen and scavenge through her packed cabinets. To my surprise, in the normal location of the classic Orville Redenbacher microwavable pouches is a jar of just straight up corn kernels.So, I'm sitting there thinking, what do i do now?! I'm use to those already prepared things. All you need to do is pop em' in the microwave and wait about two minutes and thirty seconds until you have perfectly seasoned; perfectly popped popcorn.Now, with the real deal, I just start drawing a blank.
With absolutely no instructions on the back, me and my friends just stare blankly. Of course you need oil! So we pour the oil into a medium sized pot and place it on the stove. Now what? Unsure of how much of the kernels to add to our, now-sizzling oil, we just take a wild guess, adding about one cup of kernels. and oh boy was that a bad decision!
With in about two minutes, the popcorn looked perfect and there was enough to go around! Yay, we actually did it! HA, nope. Thinking it was done popping, I turned around for just a few seconds only to turn back around to a gigantic heap of popcorn popping uncontrollably all over the pot and stove. Trying to pick up all the pieces before my friends flip a shit, it keeps pouring out over the pot, making a jumble of disaster.
What to do, what to do! Immediately, my first reaction is to scream, of course bringing Marisa and Sarah flying into the kitchen to be greeted by a popcorn-covered floor and little old me standing right in the middle.
We all starting picking up the pieces of popcorn. Almost instantly, questions start pouring out of my best friend's mouths, basically coming down to; HOW?!
Thinking about it now, the answer to that question is pretty obvious; a small amount of kernals goes a long way. Boy, did we learn our lesson, but now it's time for round two! I'm destine to get to the bottom of my curiosity. Why in the world, does pop-corn, pop?
Our next attempt seems to be going rather well. Cutting down the amount of kernels makes a HUGE difference! Pop, Pop, Pop, and It's done! The three of us just look at each other, and burst out laughing. It's now about three o'clock in the morning, our movie is over and we didn't even watch one minute of it. Now with our huge bowl of popcorn, perfectly popped may i add, we finally sit down and... just crash.
Why does popcorn pop? It still remains a mystery to me. Now I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for this, but why bother, sometimes, unknown is what makes like a bit more interesting.
"History of Popcorn, History of Caramel Corn, History of Cracker Jacks, History of Popcorn Balls." What's Cooking America, Thanksgiving Dinner Planning, Prime Rib Roast, Thanksgiving Turkey. Web. 23 Nov. 2010. <http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/PopcornHistory.htm>.
Stevens, Amy. "What Kind of Popcorn Pops the Most." HubPages. Web. 23 Nov. 2010. <http://hubpages.com/hub/What-Kind-of-Popcorn-Pops-the-Most>.
"Popcorn Bag." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 23 Nov. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popcorn_bag>.
"Fun Popcorn Facts." Popcorn Board - Home. Web. 23 Nov. 2010. <http://www.popcorn.org/AboutUs/PopcornPoppinMonth/FunPopcornFacts/tabid/118/Default.aspx>.