Tahlequah Daily Press


September 12, 2007

Popcorn popularity high, despite cautions



The Popcorn Board's Web site tells of one Oklahoma banker who went broke during the Depression. He scraped together enough money to open a popcorn store, and his profits were great enough to buy back three farms he had lost.

During World War II, Americans ate about three times as much popcorn as they had in the past. Sugar was scarce and much of it was reserved for fighting troops. Popcorn provided a non-sugary alternative.

However, popcorn consumption slumped during the 1950s, as the advent of television resulted in a decrease in theater attendance. But soon, Americans began popping corn at home to snack on while watching Jack Benny or Ed Sullivan.

Popcorn was the first food to be heated in microwave ovens when they were invented in the 1940s. Microwave popcorn boomed in popularity during the 1980s and 1990s, and dominates the market today.

Popcorn is valued as a low-calorie snack, if you don't add too much butter. It's low in fat and contains complex carbohydrates.

Check it out!

If you're looking ahead and making plans, October is officially national Popcorn Poppin' Month. The Popcorn Board offers many recipes for popped corn, including these:

Crispy, Crunchy Apple Popcorn

6 cups popped popcorn

1 tablespoon melted butter

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups dried apple chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a 9- by 13-inch pan with foil, butter the foil. Spread popcorn in the pan and drizzle with melted butter. Toss. Sprinkle the popcorn with the sugar and cinnamon, toss again. Heat 7 minutes. Sprinkle apple chips over popcorn, heat 3 more minutes. Serve warm or cool. Store in airtight container.

Popcorn S'mores

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 stick butter or margarine

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

10 cups freshly popped popcorn

10-1/2-ounce package miniature marshmallows

2 cups miniature graham teddy bears

1 cup chocolate chips

Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in saucepan. Cook over high heat 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add baking soda. Combine popcorn and marshmallows in a large bowl. Pour sugar mixture over and coat. Gently stir in graham crackers and chocolate chips. Spread in greased 10- by 15-inch pan; let cool. Break into pieces. Store in airtight container.

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