Popcorn

Popcorn. It’s always been a treat for me. Even on a weeknight sitting at home watching TV. It’s still a treat. I was thinking about popcorn and the role that it has played in my life. So many memories over the years.

According to the unofficial documentation of Wikipedia, popcorn is the oldest form of corn known. Traces of it date back to 3600 BC from Native Americans in New Mexico. Wikipedia says that during the Depression, popcorn took the place of candy because of the sugar shortage. At a mere 5-10 cents per bag, popcorn sold 3 times more during this time than it had before. It became widely popular as a low cost treat. Though I was born quite a few years after the Depression, it was a treat in the Anthony household.

I remember Saturday was our night for popcorn. We had to have our baths finished and had to be fully ready for church the next morning. It was the time of the Carol Burnett show. We would settle in to watch Carol and suddenly hear the sizzle of popcorn in the skillet. Then we would smell it. My father swore he had the perfect method for popping the best corn. It would sizzle until one kernel popped, then he would remove it from the heat for one minute. Yes, it was almost to the second. A couple of shakes before it went back on the fire, then away it would go. He would pop a big bowl, sprinkle it with just a little salt, and then we would settle in to watch the show. As soon as Carol Burnett tugged on her ear, we were off to bed. Sometimes, on really special nights, we would drink a little 7-Up with it.

I remember when someone decided cooking popcorn with oil wasn’t good for you. We did away with the oil and got a hot air popper. It never seemed to work as well, though. I always wanted to try Jiffy Pop Popcorn. We did once. And that was it. My dad decided he could make it better. There was one time when we got an automatic popper. We quickly decided the skillet worked better once again.

There is nothing like smelling freshly popped corn. I worked at a music theater in college. I would walk into the park and the first thing you would see and smell was the popcorn station. Many couldn’t resist the smell. It was a top seller. And how about the movie theater? There’s a reason why you have to walk by the concession stand with the smell of freshly popped corn wafting through the air. It’s a smell many can’t walk by easily.

These days it comes in easy pouches for the microwave. I’m grateful for it. But it still is a treat. Whether at the movie theater, at Wildcat stadium, or at home, the smell of freshly popped popcorn brings a flood of memories. I know, sometimes, it’s just the little things.

By the way, though you pay a lot for a bucket of corn, the cost is still very inexpensive to make. Usually, the corn in the tub at the theater costs less than $.10. Just thought you might want to know.

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