Cover image for Popped culture : a social history of popcorn in America
Popped culture : a social history of popcorn in America
Smith, Andrew F., 1946-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Columbia, S.C. : University of South Carolina Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxi, 264 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
pt. 1. History -- ch. 1. Pop heard 'round the Americas -- ch. 2. Invention of popcorn -- ch. 3. Popcorn children -- ch. 4. Pop cookery -- ch. 5. Early pop pros -- ch. 6. Popcorn boom -- ch. 7. Pop convenience -- ch. 8. Pop mania -- ch. 9. End of popcorn? -- pt. 2. Historical recipes.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX814.5.P66 S62 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Whether in movie theaters or sports arenas, at fairs or theme parks, around campfires or family hearths, Americans consume more popcorn by volume than any other snack. To the world, popcorn seems as American as baseball and apple pie. Within American food lore, popcorn holds a special place, for it was purportedly shared by Native Americans at the first Thanksgiving. In Popped Culture, Andrew F. Smith tests such legends against archaeological, agricultural, culinary, and social findings. While debunking many myths, he discovers a flavorful story of the curious kernel's introduction and ever-increasing consumption in North America. Unlike other culinary fads of the nineteenth century, popcorn has never lost favor with the American public. Smith gauges the reasons for its unflagging popularity: the invention of "wire over the fire" poppers, commercial promotion by shrewd producers, the fascination of children with the kernel's magical "pop," and affordability. To explain popcorn's twentieth-century success, he examines its fortuitous association with new technology-radio, movies, television, microwaves-and recounts the brand-name triumphs of American manufacturers and packagers. His familiarity with the history of the snack allows him to form expectations about popcorn's future in the United States and abroad. Smith concludes his account with more than 160 surprising historical recipes for popcorn cookery, including the intriguing use of the snack in custard, hash, ice cream, omelets, and soup.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Smith likes to dispel myths and tell the facts about his subject. In doing so, he has created a pleasantly readable book, well documented, with 30 pages of endnotes and a selected interdisciplinary bibliography. He addresses many aspects of popcorn culture, from the early history to producing and marketing, to popularity over time. Smith also discusses the appeal of popcorn to children as a fun food, and the social history that made popcorn a very popular snack food with all ages. He even explains why it pops. Culinary aspects are addressed with the history of both the corn popper and popcorn cookery. There is a section of recipes using popcorn that were all published before 1924, with citations to where they were published. The recipes are not only for sweet dishes, but also for cereal, soups, salads, stuffing, and other dishes. Recommended for any library, high school and beyond. All levels. N. Duran; Illinois State University