Thursday, January 16, 2014

Celebrate National Popcorn Day - 01/19/2014

According to, "Americans consume some 16 billion quarts of this whole grain, good-for-you treat. That’s 51 quarts per man, woman, and child."
Popcorn with butter & salt
Title: Popcorn with butter & salt | Date: 01/14/2014 | Photographers: James Kiester & Dani Cogswell This picture was taken by the author of this blog.

This is hardly surprising when you stop to consider that this treat can be found at almost every movie theater, sports event, carnival, circus, fair, and zoo in the country, in a variety of both sweet and salty forms.  Think about it, when we first arrive at a movie or ballgame, most of us find ourselves in the popcorn/beverage line, even before marking our seats with our jackets.

Sure, we can pop popcorn at home, but it tastes better when eaten at entertainment venues, especially at the movies.

Why does popcorn taste better at the movies?  

To answer this question, we first have to decide which flavor of popcorn we’re talking about.  Today, at many theaters, one can buy;
  • Popcorn with traditional butter and/or salt,
  • Kettle Corn (salty sweet popcorn),
  • Caramel Corn
  • And cheese or ranch powder for on their popcorn. 
Likewise, luxury theaters offer additional flavors, such as;
  • Garlic,
  • Bacon/Rosemary,
  • Jalapeño,
  • And Almond.
However, just to simplify matters, we’ll stick with the traditional butter and/or salt variety of popcorn.

As I understand it, movie theaters use butter-flavored hydrogenated coconut oil.  This oil has a lower water content than butter, which makes popcorn less soggy.  They also use a finely ground butter flavored salt, called Flavacol, which adheres to kernels better than average table salt.

One can try using butter-flavored hydrogenated coconut oil, or substituting clarified butter for said oil, at home, then adding Flavacol.  However, I’m for leaving movie popcorn at the movies and jazzing up my own microwave popcorn at home.  (Yes, even being the food snob that I am, I like economical microwave popcorn.)

This Sunday, January 19th, is National Popcorn Day.  Typically, at this point, I’d supply a handful of flavored popcorn recipes for readers to experiment with.  However, Food Network has published a booklet of fifty such recipes within their latest issue of Food Network Magazine, making any collection I could provide seem redundant.

Nevertheless, whether you use the magazine, or your own imagination, celebrating National Popcorn Day is a great excuse to experiment with new and delicious flavors for your popcorn.

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