The History of Popcorn
before Flavor...)

Pop! Pop! Pop! When you hear the popping sounds and smell the wonderful scent of warm fresh gourmet popped or flavored popcorn, your mouth starts to water, your vision blurs, you get a little dizzy as the craving for gourmet popcorn overtakes you... So just how long has flavored popcorn been having this affect on people. A long time. Here's what we've discovered at Popcorn Mania.

Ancient History
The first account on this topic is far ago when archaeologists have found 80,000-year-old corn pollen below Mexico City. Because this pollen is almost exactly the same as modern  popcorn pollen, researchers believe that "cave people" most likely had popcorn (probably not flavored...).

The oldest ears of popcorn ever found were discovered in the Bat Cave (a site known to have been occupied by cave dwellers practicing primitive agriculture three thousand years ago) of west central New Mexico in 1948 and 1950 by anthropologist Herbert Dick and botanist Earle Smith, Harvard graduate students. They found tiny cobs of popcorn in which each kernel was enclosed in its own husk.

Among those prehistoric kernels, they found six that were partly or completely popped. These grains have been so well preserved that they would still pop. In fact, they took a few un popped kernels and dropped them into a little hot oil to prove that they could still pop. They have been carbon dated to be about 5,600 years old.

Prehistoric popcorn was popped by throwing it on sizzling hot stones tended over a raging campfire. Naturally, as it popped it shot off in various directions. The game was to catch the popcorn and the reward was snacking on it.

Grains of popcorn over 1,000 years old were discovered on Peru's east coast. Preservation methods of the Peruvian Indians was so advanced that 1,000 years later, this corn still pops.

Recent History

French explorers of the Great Lakes region in 1612, have mentioned the use of popcorn by the Iroquois. The Frenchmen took part in an Iroquois dinner that included popcorn soup and popcorn beer.

Popcorn was spreading through almost all tribes of North and South America by the time the Pilgrims arrived. Quadequina, a brother of Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag tribe brought popcorn to the first Thanksgiving dinner in Plymouth, Massachusetts (this definitely had to be gourmet...). The Indians brought popcorn to many of the meetings with colonists as a goodwill gesture - kind of like their contribution to the potluck meal.

With the opening of movie theaters across the nation early in the 20th century, popcorn became a part of the new excitement. During the Depression years (1929-1939), popcorn was one of the few luxuries down-and-out families could afford.

Today the American and Canadian public eats over one point five billion pounds of popcorn per year; translating to over twenty-three and billion quarts! The average American and Canadian chows down on approximately 70 quarts per person yearly. (we can definitely understand why - gourmet popcorn - nothing tastes better...)