For most of us popcorn is something we eat only while at the theater, an occasional snack associated with the movies. For others, popcorn is a way of life, and then there are those who don’t see what’s the fuss is about. However, popcorn has a much richer history than any of us realize, which dates back to 1885, and it constitutes a much bigger part of the average American’s life than most of us know.
So much so, that 17 billion quarts of popcorn are consumed by Americans every year; if this number doesn’t mean anything to you – it’s an amount that would fill the Empire State Building over a dozen times. This number also marks the U.S as the country with the highest consumption of the snack.
Every State in the U.S has a different relationship to popcorn, but for all of them – without exception – as it turns out, popcorn is one of the most beloved snacks. In Illinois, for example, popcorn is the official state snack, and every year, since 1958, they hold an annual Popcorn Day. Nebraska is also among the states which particularly love popcorn, and they produce an estimated amount of 250 million pounds of popcorn every year.
Perhaps what might explain this love for popcorn is the fact it’s among the healthiest snack choices. Not many people know, but popcorn can be good for you. Popcorn in its natural state – without any added ingredients such as salt and butter (which, unfortunately, is used in abundance in movie theaters) – is the best choice of snack for people watching their weight or people with high cholesterol, since corn seeds are low in fat and calories, and rich in minerals and vitamins. Compared to other snacks, such as potato chips or pretzels, popcorn contains the highest amount of fiber, protein and iron.
One last thing you probably didn’t know about popcorn is that January 19th marks the National Popcorn Day. In contrast to what you might think, it’s not the day popcorn was invented, but just a day chosen by the National Popcorn Board to celebrate the fluffy, addictive snack. So clear up your evening, decide on a good film that’s patiently waiting on your watch-list, and pop some popcorn.