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Popcorn: Made from a type of sweet corn, developed so its kernels are under greater tension than normal varieties. It's made by roasting dried kernels of maize/sweet corn (Zea mays everta) with fat, the starch inside swells and bursts from the kernel's outer skin.
A form of popcorn was cultivated by the Incas and used to decorate bodies for burial.
Modern strains puff up to forty times their original size. In the U.S.A. popcorn consumption has more than doubled in the last 20 years, many because of its popularity at cinemas. Over 2.4 pounds are consumed per capita each year. Without the profits from popcorn, probably many cinemas would be forced to closedown.
Archaeologists have found remains of 'popped' corn in New Mexico dating back to the first millennium BC.
Modern connoisseurs, visiting the cinema (where it's a traditional offering), like to fill the bottom half of their container with sweet popcorn and the top with the salted variety. They feel that just as the palate is finding the salt overwhelming, the sweet layer emerges. See 'Cretors, Charles. C'