(Mushroom and Butterfly puffs, original photo from Wikipedia Commons, but adjusted for fun!)
The beauty of popcorn is its simplicity, and in honour of that, today’s blog will be short and to the point. Besides, buttery fingers do not lend themselves to typing, so what’s a girl to do?
First, some fun trivia, second, a recipe.
- Popcorn has been enjoyed for at least 6000 years, and quite possibly much longer. In the 1800’s, a stash of popcorn was found in a Peruvian cave and dated at 1000 years old. It was so well preserved that the kernels were still pop-able.
- In the early 1600’s, French explorers were treated to an Iroquois dinner featuring popcorn soup and popcorn beer
- Early North American colonists enjoyed popcorn as a breakfast cereal with cream and sugar.
- The Great Depression caused a popcorn boom. Sugar rationing reduced available candy and sweet snacks, so popcorn consumption tripled.
- As the kernel heats, the pressure inside the hull climbs to about 135 psi. The superheated pressurized steam within causes the starchy interior to gelatinize. When the hull ruptures the starch expands into a foam before cooling into the puff we know and love.
- The world’s largest popcorn ball was 8 feet in diameter and weighed 3,415 pounds.
- In popcorn jargon there are two kinds of puffs: Mushrooms and Butterflies. The mushrooms (like the round guys on the left) are best for caramel and confection corns because they are tough enough to withstand mixing with heavy syrups. The butterflies (winged ones on the right) are best for regular snacking, as they have a lighter, fluffier texture.
(Now, take these “facts” with a grain of salt, and maybe some brewer’s yeast. I found a lot of contradictory data on some of them!)
Now for the recipe. This recipe was inspired by (but is not identical to) the recipe in the Rebar cookbook (http://www.rebarmodernfood.com/cookbook.html). If you don’t own this book, why are you still reading this? Get thee to a bookstore!
2/3 C kernels, popped as per your favourite method
1.5 Tbsp butter
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (I used a sweet/mild variety)
1/2 tsp. ground sage
truffle oil (to taste)
salt (to taste)
Melt the butter and oil, stir in the spices. Let cool a bit before adding the truffle oil, but keep it warm enough that it stays thin and easy to pour. Toss with popcorn.