Ever since the first kernel of maize exploded into a white puff in North America some 5,000 years ago, popcorn has been a hit for both eating and décor! Most people don’t realize it, but there are actually three distinct types of corn. There’s sweet corn for eating, field corn for feeding to livestock, and, finally, popping corn (also called “Indian” corn), which has sufficient water content to burst into puffs when heated.
Popcorn was such a novelty to early American explorers that Columbus and his crew purchased popcorn necklaces from the Native Americans. At the first Thanksgiving celebration, the Wampanoag tribe are said to have contributed several deerskin sacks full of already-popped corn to the historic feast with the Plymouth Pilgrims. So, there’s certainly every reason to expect popcorn, whether popped or still in kernel form, to make more appearances on Thanksgiving tables.
With modern popping techniques greatly reducing the number of both burnt and un-popped kernels, you can expect to see this time-tested snack in abundance for the Holidays. There will be plentiful amounts of it spilling from traditional Thanksgiving cornucopias, as well as Christmas wreaths made entirely of popcorn.
Today’s flavors and colors are also making it possible to create batches of popcorn that look and taste just like birthday cakes, cheesecake, blueberry pie and a host of other desserts for special occasions. Halloween caramel apples won’t be complete without the crunch of popcorn covering their sticky exteriors, and a heart-shaped tin of red-velvet-drizzled popcorn may take the place of higher-calorie chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Red-white-and-blue popcorn garlands easily step up to the plate as the quintessential all-American garland for the 4th of July, and chocolate-coated popcorn balls on sticks might soon stand side-by-side with candied apples as the most popular autumn treats.
No matter how you present it, popcorn will add texture and flair to your seasonal creations. It’s certainly getting hot enough now to really pop in the gift and décor worlds!