The greatest modern foods have a habit of being surprisingly not so new. Who would have thought pizza is as old as the wheel? Or that chocolate emerged around the same time as Stonehenge’s completion? Well, like other delicious foods that are enjoyed around the world today, popcorn is a lot older than you may think. Evidence suggests that it dates back to 4700 BCE in Peru. Later, popcorn became a favorite of those native to North America, who eventually introduced it to the English in the 16th and 17th centuries.
But this favorite snack didn’t really gain popularity until times were hard. During desperate years, people sought out ways to be distracted from their troubles and during the Great Depression, nothing was a better diversion than movies. Because popcorn was sold in 5 and 10 cent bags, it was cheap enough for most people to afford, causing sales to increase dramatically. Then, nearly a decade later, popcorn sales increased again with the onset of World War II, though for a different reason. People were still regularly enjoying handfuls of popped corn, but during the war, sugar was rationed, becoming so scarce that the supply of candy made in America was greatly depleted. And people filled the void of sweets with savory popcorn.
In the 1980s, microwaves became more commonplace, causing a shift in where the snack was being consumed. Instead of going to the movies to enjoy handfuls of pop, people could eat it almost instantly in their own homes. Today, only 30% of all popcorn is consumed outside the home.
As good as it may be, a whole bag of popcorn can sometimes be too much for one person…or even a few people. But that doesn’t mean that you should let your leftovers go to waste. Instead of putting your popcorn in the trash, make good use of it by employing some of these ideas:
Pack It Up
Whether you’re going green or just don’t have Styrofoam peanuts lying around, popcorn can help. It makes a great packing material. Think about it: is it really that much different than packing peanuts? It’s soft on the stuff you’re shipping, but tough enough to withstand the journey.
Deck the Halls
If it’s around December, using popcorn in your decorations is a no brainer. Round up some cranberries, string, and a blunt needle to make a popcorn garland. Popcorn wreaths are another great idea. And even if you’re not decorating for the holidays, you can still use garlands and wreaths. If you want to make them a little more festive, try dying the popcorn with food coloring or tempera paints. Wreaths and garlands are a great festive look all year round and can look adorable around your home during birthdays, holidays, and parties.
You may not have heard – but popcorn is kind of a big deal. Not just because it’s delicious, but it’s recently been found to actually be good for you. Really. New studies suggest that a serving of popcorn contains more antioxidants than a day’s worth of fruits and vegetables.
But that’s not to say that all popcorn is terrific for you; we’re talking plain popcorn here. A cup of plain pop only contains around 31 calories (compared to a cup of regular potato chips which holds around 139 calories…not exactly great). Popcorn also contains fiber and is the only snack that’s 100% whole grain. And whole grains are really good for you because they contain those antioxidants.