If you’re here on this website, then there is a good chance that you eat this stuff at least once a week. Sadly, many people don’t wonder about the history of popcorn. This delicious treat has a history that is much more interesting that you would think.
How It All Started
It has been around for thousands of years, and people first started cultivating it at least a few thousand years ago. There is a place in the world called Peru – you’ve probably heard of it. This is where people first began cultivating it.
You probably didn’t know that it’s a form of corn, and it’s one of the oldest around. There is evidence of this buttery treat that dates back to 3600 B.C, and it was discovered in New Mexico. However, even older evidence has been discovered in, what is now, Peru.
Some of the evidence dates back to around 4700 B.C. Did you know that there is such a thing as purple popcorn? It was discovered sometime in the early 1900s.
There is an old legend that says English settlers learned of your favorite treat from Native Americans, and this myth has been proven to be wrong. Although it would make for an interesting story, there simply isn’t any colonial evidence to support this myth.
The Great Depression
You won’t believe how cheap it was during the great depression. If you guessed it was 5 to 10 cents per bag, then you were right! It’s hard to imagine ANYTHING being that cheap. Today, it’s easily over $1 per bag, with high-end brands costing even more money.
During the time of the great depression, businesses that made it actually flourished because it was so cheap, and put simply, people loved it! Many farmers were able to sell the product and stay afloat during this financial nightmare.
When World War 2 was happening, candy production almost came to a complete stop, and to compensate for the lack of candy eating, most people ended up eating about 3x as much of the product as they had been eating. In the Midwestern United States, there are six different localities that claim to be the popcorn capital of the world.
Most people don’t know just how special it really is. The USSA says that the corn that is planted to make popcorn with is specifically planted for the sole purpose of making it. A large portion of the country’s popcorn comes from Indiana and Nebraska.
However, a lot of it also comes from Texas. Did you know that an elementary school project that took place in Illinois caused popcorn to become the official state snack for that state?
America’s Love for Popcorn
During the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century, this treat was extremely popular. It could be purchased near local theaters, street vendors and at parks.
Today, it can still be purchased from many different locations, but you just don’t see nearly as many street dealers who’re selling it.
Occasionally, you might see a street vendor parked outside of a large retail store. In the past and even today, the favorite location, for most people, to eat it is at the local movie theaters.
It’s very unlikely that this will change because there aren’t too many activities that are more enjoyable than a huge tub of buttery goodness while watching an exciting new movie. This is the history of your favorite snack, and although most people might not care about it, there is something special about it for us popcorn lovers.