Popped quiz

July 31, 2013

If you’re a popcorn aficionado, you might not even need to look up the answers, which we’ve supplied below. For the rest of us, the heat is on. True or false:

1. Native Americans brought popcorn to the Thanksgiving table in Plymouth, Mass., in 1621.

2. The Kellogg family of Michigan enjoyed eating a bowl of popcorn with milk or cream for breakfast.

3. Popcorn sculpture has been an off-and-on American pastime since the early 20th century.

4. Popcorn is the official state snack of Nebraska.

5. There is no such thing as “hull-less” popcorn.

Answers:

1. False. There has been no physical evidence of popcorn in eastern America during that era. But there is proof that popcorn was cultivated several thousand years ago on land that became the American Southwest.

2. True. Ella Kellogg, wife of cereal entrepreneur John Harvey Kellogg, pronounced it a “delectable dish.” And popcorn cereal eaten at the end of the 19th century is thought to have provided the inspiration for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.

3. True. A principal of Boston’s School of Cookery, Alice Bradley, recommended popcorn as a suitable material for building model cannons and soldiers (“The Wartime Cook Book,” 1943). She later wrote an article suggesting that popping corn at Christmas was patriotic. If Americans could substitute popcorn for confections, their reduced consumption of sugar and molasses would help folks in war-torn countries abroad.

4. False. It is the official state snack of Illinois.

5. True. All popcorn needs a hull in order to pop. Some varieties have hulls that shatter when popped, making them appear to be hull-less.

food@washpost.com

Sources: The Popcorn Board; “Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America,” by Andrew F. Smith; www.netstate.com

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