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This time-honored treat can be sweet or savory, caramelized, buttered or plain, molded into a candied ball or tossed with nuts and chocolate. However, it is enjoyed, enjoy it on National Popcorn Day, January 19th.
Popcorn has another romance that may have had a slow start, but eventually took off. Today, who can image going to the movies without getting a box of buttered popcorn. While popcorn itself was an economical choice for a snack food, the expense of installing a machine and venting the building properly didn’t seem worth the effort. If it wasn’t for Glen W. Dickson, we would be purchasing our popcorn from a vendor on the street before taking in the show. Dickson put in the effort and expense of placing machines inside his theaters. After realizing how quickly he recouped his costs, other theater owners followed suit.
Then next big advancement for popcorn was the invention of the microwave. Magnetrons, a technology produced by Raytheon Manufacturing Corporation for the military during World War II, were later used to develop microwave ovens. Percy Spencer was the man who made it happen. Popcorn was one of his primary experiments during the microwave’s development.
Today, Americans consume 13 billion quarts of popcorn a year, more than any other country in the world. Many opt for air-popped popcorn in the home now to keep it healthier. A majority of the popcorn produced in the world is grown in the United States. Nebraska leads the corn belt in popcorn production.