Friday, October 04, 2013

Popcorn, The Worlds Most International, Well Known Snack?

In my travels all over the world, sampling every snack I could get my hands on, I've noticed that one snacks is more prevalent globally than others.  Certain brands are most certainly available all over the place, M&Ms, Kit Kat, and Mars Bars, are pretty common no matter where you go.  But this hasn't been that way until very recently.  For example, when I traveled through Singapore airport last winter I ventured into the M&Ms store. There they told me that this store was the first place in the country to sell M&Ms, and that store's only been open for a few years.
There is one snack food that I've seen in every country I've ever set foot.  As far as I know this snack food is available everywhere in the world (although I could be wrong since have yet to travel to every country).  This snack food is popcorn.

Popcorn has been around for a very long time.  In fact some archaeologists have found evidence of popcorn going back more than six thousand years.  These early findings were found in Peru, and it makes sense.  At the time this culture used corn as a primary food source, so it only makes sense that they would explore different varieties and different ways to prepare it.  In North America popcorn became popular during times of crisis (the wars or during the depression).  When food was becoming expensive (or had to be rationed) popcorn was a great inexpensive way to snack.
Today we see popcorn everywhere, and I imagine that it has a lot to do with the reasons why it gained in popularity in North America.  Popcorn is cheap and easy to transport, so in places where corn may not be easy to grow, you can still have popcorn.  The shelf life for popcorn can be months, so transportation is very easy.  Finally preparation of popcorn takes a little oil and some heat, and that's it.

Popcorn is also a very versatile snack, it can take salty, sweet, or even spicy very well.  This allows any culture the ability to take this food, and make it their own.  I have to admit though, most of the time when I see popcorn it comes covered in a butter like substance.  I imagine that the theater culture is what provokes the idea that popcorn is best with butter.  It's not only in the theaters, but also on the big screen that has created the connection between popcorn and the movies.  Many films that show people in theaters will include the popcorn bucket as a prop.  I'm sure someone seeking out a conspiracy theory might find this to be a little ironic.
Popcorn is truly a universal treat, and I think there are several reasons why.  It's versatile, cheap, stores well, and it's been around for a long time.  In all my travels I have yet to find a country that doesn't have popcorn available either at a theater or from a street vendor.  Sometimes the flavours, and toppings vary, but the basic snack is always the same.  I think that popcorn might be the most popular snack in the entire world.


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