Who invented popcorn and when? The “cinema” delicacy has been around for thousands of years.

Popcorn, or popcorn, is a popular snack that most people associate with going to the movies. The name “popcorn” itself comes from two words “popped corn”, which means “shot corn” or “shot grain”. The delicacy is made from a special type of sweet corn, or maize. Due to the high moisture content in the grain and the hard, dense shell, when heated, the steam literally explodes it, causing the contents to burst out. On the Internet you can find various fables about how and when popcorn was first invented, but its real history is even more interesting.

Who and when invented popcorn? The cinematic delicacy has been around for thousands of years. People first started roasting popcorn in America thousands of years ago. Photo source: dzen.ru. Photo.

People first started popping popcorn in America thousands of years ago. Photo source: dzen.ru


  • 1 When people started growing corn
  • 2 When people They started roasting popcorn for the first time
  • 3 Popcorn — a traditional dish of the ancient Indians
  • 4 When did modern popcorn appear

When did people start growing corn

Corn, as you know, is a native American product. Native North Americans originally harvested the grains of the teosinte plant, the ancestor of modern corn. They contained a lot of starch and carbohydrates, like bread or pasta. Ultimately, in the territory of modern Mexico, about 9,000 years ago, people began to plant and care for the plant themselves, as a result of which something similar to domestic corn appeared.

The main difference between domestic corn and the wild plant is its larger size. heads of cabbage and grains. Over time, corn spread throughout North and South America. True, people did not immediately start frying it to make popcorn.

When people started growing corn. Corn and its ancient ancestor teosinte. Photo source: ria.ru. Photo.

Corn and its ancient ancestor teosinte. Photo source: ria.ru

When people first started roasting popcorn

Usually scientists draw conclusions about what happened in prehistoric times based on archaeological finds. For this reason, it is difficult to draw conclusions about the culinary preferences of people thousands of years ago, since products, unlike metal and wooden products or, for example, animal bones, are not preserved.

However, scientists have had better luck with popcorn. It has hard parts – a shell. Burnt grains are especially well preserved. Archaeologists have found them in many caves and ancient dwellings in the American Southwest and South. Thanks to this, we now know exactly who, where and when they first started preparing this delicacy.

When people first started popping popcorn. The popcorn seed pops when heated due to the dense shell and the steam that breaks it. Photo source: livescience.com. Photo.

Popcorn seeds pop when heated due to the dense shell and the steam that breaks it apart. Photo source: livescience.com

There are several types of corn whose kernels pop when heated, but only one type that does this best is the one that makes popcorn. The oldest roasted beans of this type are 6,700 years old. They were discovered in Peru.

Popcorn — traditional dish of the ancient Indians

Nowadays it is difficult to say how puffed corn first appeared. But it can be assumed that it was accidentally dropped into a fire, causing the grains to explode. Most likely, some curious Indian decided to taste the resulting “dish”. Since then, corn has been fried specifically.

True, the first popcorn was not similar to modern popcorn, since, most likely, the Indians then had neither salt nor special oil. However, popcorn became very popular among Native Americans. At the beginning of the 17th century, French researchers wrote that the Iroquois popped popcorn on hot sand in clay vessels and added popcorn as one of the ingredients in the soup.

Popcorn is a traditional dish of the ancient Indians. The Indians began growing corn 9000 years ago. Photo source: dzen.ru. Photo.

The Indians began growing corn 9,000 years ago. Photo source: dzen.ru

A missionary in Peru from 1609 to 1629 wrote that the indigenous people toasted popcorn kernels until they exploded. They called this dish “pisancalla” and used it as a delicacy. That is, popcorn was eaten both as an independent snack and used as an ingredient for preparing other dishes.

When did modern popcorn appear

Popcorn as we know it was invented by US confectioner Charles Critors. This happened when he was experimenting with a peanut roasting machine in 1885. He created a device that ran on a small steam engine. In this case, corn grains were fried in a mixture of butter and lard. The process of roasting popcorn was a kind of show, as the handle was rotated by the Little Mechanical Clown, Mr. Rosty Tosty, which amused the audience.

When modern popcorn appeared. Popcorn seller in the USA — 1912. Photo source: wikimedia.org. Photo.

US Popcorn Seller — 1912 Photo source: wikimedia.org

To attract customers, Charles Critors initially gave out free popcorn, prepared according to his own recipe, to everyone. Since then, the popularity of this delicacy began to grow rapidly, and the Cretors Company remains a leading producer of popcorn to this day.

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During World War II, when there was a shortage of sugar, candy disappeared from sale in movie theaters. In order not to leave the audience completely without delicacies, they decided to replace them with popcorn. Since then, popcorn has become one of the conditions for a successful trip to the cinema.

Finally, we note that popcorn is not only tasty, but also a healthy treat. However, it can cause serious heart problems if it gets stuck in your teeth. Read more about this at the link.