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January 19th is National Popcorn Day

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If you're looking for something to do today then get ready for a crunchy one because today's National Popcorn Day!  If you've never eaten popcorn before, then you are truly a minority...  Let's get right into celebrating National Popcorn Day!

WHY IS THIS A HOLIDAY?  

Well if you can honestly say that you've never eaten popcorn before then you might be wondering why this is a holiday in the first place. But the truth is, most people end up eating popcorn in their lives on more occasions than they can count.  Popcorn was first discovered by Native Americans in North America; there's evidence of its use even as far back as 3600 B.C. in New Mexico! Now that's a long-lasting traditional treat!  And when the English came to North America in the 16th and 17th centuries, they learned about popcorn from the Natives.  Fast forward to the Great Depression and you'll notice that one business in particular was booming; the popcorn business! Why? Because it was so cheap! A bag of popcorn would only cost you somewhere around a nickle or a dime in those days, so while other businesses failed the popcorn industry stayed alive.

So how exactly does popcorn "pop"? Well, each kernel has a tiny bit of moisture and oil inside it and when you heat it past the boiling point, the moisture turns to steam inside the hull.  That outer layer, the hull, is actually moisture-proof, but the inside is a solid starch. And as the moisture turns into steam, it softens up the starchy insides until the hull breaks from the pressure.  The hull breaks so quickly that the change in pressure causes the insides to turn into a foam. And as the foam quickly cools it turns into the crunchy popcorn you know and love.  There are a variety of ways you can pop your own popcorn like putting it over a fire, using pressure, using steam, air popping it or even by using your trusty microwave. It also comes in a variety of flavors; too many to name actually!  But it doesn't matter how you pop it or what flavor you choose, I'm sure there's a reason why most of you serve up this treat every time you sit down for a movie. Maybe it's because you love it ;).

HOW TO CELEBRATE 

So how can you celebrate today?  Why not have a movie night? Invite your friends and family over for a movie or two and pop up a bunch of popcorn for everyone to enjoy.  Go all out and make a variety of different flavors so people can pick and choose which popcorn to stuff in their mouth. Some common choices are butter, kettle corn, salted, caramel, cheese and of course plain.
 
Depending on the flavor you decide to go with this can actually be a pretty healthy treat. It's packed with fiber, low in fat and calories and actually has a good amount of protein.  But maybe you don't want to make your own popcorn today... well go out and buy a bag that's already popped for you! This will open you up to a world of new flavors and probably keep you from sitting on the couch while you eat it.  I hope you have a great day today... I can already hear the crunching!





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