Popped Culture
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206 pages

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The history, legends, and cookery of America's favorite snack food

Whether in movie theaters or sports arenas, at fairs or theme parks, around campfires or family hearths, Americans consume more popcorn by volume than any other snack. To the world, popcorn seems as American as baseball and apple pie. Within American food lore, popcorn holds a special place, for it was purportedly shared by Native Americans at the first Thanksgiving. In Popped Culture, Andrew F. Smith tests such legends against archaeological, agricultural, culinary, and social findings. While debunking many myths, he discovers a flavorful story of the curious kernel's introduction and ever-increasing consumption in North America.

Unlike other culinary fads of the nineteenth century, popcorn has never lost favor with the American public. Smith gauges the reasons for its unflagging popularity: the invention of "wire over the fire" poppers, commercial promotion by shrewd producers, the fascination of children with the kernel's magical "pop," and affordability. To explain popcorn's twentieth-century success, he examines its fortuitous association with new technology—radio, movies, television, microwaves—and recounts the brand-name triumphs of American manufacturers and packagers. His familiarity with the history of the snack allows him to form expectations about popcorn's future in the United States and abroad.

Smith concludes his account with more than 160 surprising historical recipes for popcorn cookery, including the intriguing use of the snack in custard, hash, ice cream, omelets, and soup.



Publié par
Date de parution 24 novembre 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781643362816
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1350€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Popped Culture
Popped Culture
A Social History of Popcorn in America
Andrew F. Smith

University of South Carolina Press
1999 University of South Carolina Press
Cloth edition published by the University of South Carolina Press, 1999 Ebook edition published in Columbia, South Carolina, by the University of South Carolina Press, 2022
Manufactured in the United States of America
31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
The Library of Congress has cataloged the cloth edition as follows:
Smith, Andrew F., 1946-
Popped culture : a social history of popcorn in America / Andrew F. Smith.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.
ISBN 1-57003-300-5 (cloth)
1. Cookery (Popcorn) 2. Popcorn-History. 3. Popcorn-Social aspects.
I. Title.
TX814.5.P66 S62 1999
641.5 5677-dc21 98-40193
The material contained in this book is being published solely because of its historical interest and is not intended as a source of recipes for the modern reader or of medical information or advice. Neither author nor publisher assumes any responsibility for the reader s application of the material herein.
ISBN 978-1-64336-281-6 (ebook)
This book is dedicated to popcorn children everywhere, Charles, David, and James, Tim, John, and Kelly, and to future popcorn generations, especially Meghanne.
List of Illustrations
Chapter 1
The Pop Heard round the Americas
Botanical Maize
Archaeological Maize
Historical Maize
Pops Heard Round the World
Popcorn in North America
Chapter 2
The Invention of Popcorn
Wire-over-the-Fire Corn Poppers
Literary Corn
Why Does Popcorn Pop?
The Healthy Snack
Chapter 3
Popcorn Children
Holiday Corn
Popcorn Boys
Popcorn Parties
Twentieth-Century Popcorn Children
Popcorn Children Revisited
Chapter 4
Pop Cookery
Popcorn Pudding and Flour
Popcorn as a Breakfast Cereal
Popcorn Balls
Popcorn Cakes
Popcorn Crisps and Crispettes
Popcorn Candy
Soups, Salads, and Entr es
Chapter 5
Early Pop Pros
Prepared Popcorn Products
Commercial Poppers
The Invention of Snack Food
Chapter 6
The Popcorn Boom
Motion Pictures
Popcorn Technology and Breeding 1
Popping through World War II
After the War
A Global Business
The Heyday of Movie Popcorn 11
Chapter 7
Pop Convenience
TV Time Popcorn
Jiffy Pop
Microwave Popcorn
Chapter 8
Pop Mania
The Popcorn King
Gourmet Microwave Popcorn
Popcorn Boutiques
Popcorn Celebrations
The Prepopped Surge
Pop Food Revival
Popping Devices
Odds and Ends
Chapter 9
The End of Popcorn?
A Healthy Snack?
The Popcorn Processor s Shuffle
Research and Breeding
New Technologies
The Global Marketplace
1. Almond Nougat
2. Balls
3. Bars or Squares
4. Best Evers
5. Biscuits
6. Bricks
7. Brittle
8. Cakes 1
9. Canapes 1
10. Candy
11. Cereal
12. Cheese and Nuts
13. Chocolate-Covered Popcorn
14. Cookies
15. Corn-Nut Loaf
16. Cornlets, Kornettes, and Dusky Maidens
17. Cracker Jack
18. Crisps and Crispettes
19. Custard
20. Cutlet
21. Dainties
22. Dates Stuffed with Popcorn 1
23. Dressing
24. Flake
25. Fritters
26. Fudge
27. Hash
28. Hunky-Dories
29. Ice Cream
30. Johnny Cakes
31. Lace
32. Macaroons
33. Marguerites
34. Mock Violets
35. Muffins
36. Nests
37. Nuggets
38. Omelets
39. Pie
40. Popcorn and Apples
41. Popcorn and Bacon
42. Popcorn and Macaroni
43. Popcorn and Raisins
44. Popcorn and Vegetables
45. Popping Corn (Directions)
46. Puddings
47. Roast
48. Rolls
49. Salads
50. Sandwiches
51. Scrapple
52. Smacks
53. Soups and Accompaniments
54. Stuffings
55. Sugared Popcorn
56. Tac-Tac
57. Taffy
58. Trifle
59. Wafers
Select Bibliography and Resources
General Works on Snack Food
General Works on Maize
Popcorn Books, Cookbooks, and Pamphlets
Historical Catalogs and Advertising Brochures
Agricultural Bulletins, Chapters, Circulars, and Journal Articles
Children s Popcorn Books
Selected Commercial Popcorn Businesses
Other Resources
1. Excelsior Popcorn handbill circa 1876.
2. Illustration of I. L. Baker s celebrated Sugar Pop-Corn at the Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia, from Frank Leslie s Illustrated Newspaper .
3. Popcorn Children, from Elizabeth Gordon, Mother Earth s Children: The Frolics of Fruits and Vegetables .
4. Popping Corn , by Benjamin Russell, circa 1865.
5. Photo of the Holcomb and Hoke automated popper, 1915.
6. American Pop Corn Company packaging.
7. Advertisement for an electric popcorn popper circa 1920.
8. Advertisement for the Universal Combination Table Stove and Corn Popper, circa 1920.
9. Photo of a Cretors Automobile Machine.
10. Photo of trade card and glassine bag-ephemera from the Connecticut Pop Corn Co., Norwich, Connecticut.
11. Cover of Mose Skinner s Grand World s Jubilee and Humstrum Convulsion.
12. Popcorn seed packages circa 1930s.
13. A. B. Olson s improved rotary corn popper, circa 1890s.
About twenty years ago I addressed a conference of history teachers in Connecticut. As I was the luncheon speaker, I decided to build my presentation on the concept of food as a vehicle for understanding history. Specifically, I examined how the food that had just been consumed affected history and, conversely, how historical events influenced those foods. The audience, expecting a twenty-page treatise on some significant but boring topic, greeted the unorthodox approach with surprise and enthusiasm.
Subsequently, I received invitations to do the food thing at other meal functions. These requests prompted me to prepare histories of foods and drinks commonly served on the lecture circuit. I found extensive literature on the histories of some foods and beverages, such as sugar, chocolate, potatoes, wine, beer, and spices. Other foods had received almost no attention. Little, for instance, had been written about the history of the tomato-one of the more commonly eaten foods in the world. This dearth of information prompted me to delve further into its history. In this quest I visited libraries with excellent culinary collections, such as the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Librarians directed me to culinary historians. These were individuals seeking to answer some part of the question: who ate what, when, how, and why? The field was also concerned with culinary dynamics: how and why do culinary systems change over time? It was a broad-based and eclectic field and counted scholars in such diverse disciplines as sociology, anthropology, women s studies, history, culinary arts, and sciences related directly to food production, consumption, and nutrition. In addition to academics, the field embraced professional chefs, food writers, independent scholars, cookbook authors, and just plain old foodies.
While the field of culinary history is of recent vintage, interest in food s past goes back hundreds of years. In the last five hundred years thousands of works have been published on food history. However, much of what has been written consists of twice-told myths. Undocumented food stories are the grist of newspapers, magazines, cookbooks, and even works which purport to be true histories. Myths gain reality through repetition, and unfortunately almost all modern food writers from James Beard to Waverly Root have colluded by repeating them.
A major change in the approach to food history began in the United Kingdom in the 1960s. This and subsequent changes were sparked by the works of three people. The first, Elizabeth David, whose works include such titles as Mediterranean Food and Harvest of the Cold Months: The Social History of Ice and Ices , offers good writing coupled with a clear attempt to locate appropriate support for her historical statements. The second, Reay Tannahill, published Food in History in 1973. This ambitious work taps into extensive sources and offers a broad overview of culinary history throughout the world. While some scholars have rightly criticized specifics in Tannahill s work, her book legitimized a broad field and provided a fresh framework for understanding the history of food. The third person to influence the field is Alan Davidson, a former British ambassador, who wrote several culinary works including the soon-to-be-released Oxford Companion on Food . His most important contributions are exemplified by his founding of Prospect Books, his editing of the journal Petits Propos Culinaires (PPC), and his participation in and encouragement of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. Prospect Books is the single largest publisher of British cookery facsimiles and other works related to food. PPC includes essays on cul

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