What’s poppin’? Oops, that Jack Harlow song is not what we’re here to talk about. We’re here to talk about popcorn, baby.
Is anything more synonymous with popcorn than movies? We think not!
Since March 11 is National Popcorn Lovers Day, we’re celebrating our favorite movie theater snack with a sweet and salty look at all of the ways to make popcorn including some classic and reimagined popcorn recipes and popcorn flavors, a history of popcorn eating through the years, plus an answer to an often-asked question: is popcorn healthy?!
If you love movies as much as we do, you probably love popcorn––especially movie theater popcorn––as much as Jerry from Tom and Jerry loves cheese.
movie theater popcorn >>> any other popcorn
— 𝑒𝓂𝒾𝓁𝓎 ²⁸ ◟̽◞̽ ¹ᴰ (@youresoogoldenn) April 19, 2020
Movie theater popcorn hits HARD.
— Chris Colston (@Chris_Colston_) September 16, 2019
You don’t even have to be hungry to eat movie theater popcorn:
I am not hungry but I DO feel like eating an entire tub of movie theater popcorn by myself
— Chloe Bruderer (@chlobrud) March 10, 2018
Hold up. Can we take a moment to appreciate the intoxicating smell of movie theater popcorn? There is seriously nothing like it (except maybe this scented candle that attempts to mimic the smell).
I miss the smell of movie theater popcorn 🍿
— RΛMIN NΛSIBOV (@RaminNasibov) February 26, 2021
So grab a bowl of popcorn (or the whole bag, we’re not judging) and snack on all things popcorn!
The history of popcorn starts wayy before movie theaters existed
Fossils suggest that people have been eating popcorn since 4700 B.C.––that’s over 6,000 years ago!! Long before microwaves, popcorn air poppers, or any of the countless ways we make popcorn nowadays, corn was easily popped over an open fire (no electricity needed).
It wasn’t until the 1890s when Charles Cretor invented the popcorn maker that it became increasingly popular and was sold on street corners.
Movie theater popcorn has been around almost as long as the movies
The love affair between movies and popcorn dates back to the Great Depression and World War II when sugar rations slowed candy production. Americans turned to popcorn and farmers benefited, including one farming family now known all over the world for their popcorn…can you guess who it was?
The Redenbacher family, but the Redenbachers didn’t spark the love affair between movies and popcorn.
It was a midwestern movie theater owner who became the matchmaker for the classic combo. Glen W. Dickinson installed popcorn machines in the lobbies of the theaters he owned and even went on to purchase popcorn farms––can you believe he was making more money off the popcorn than the movie tickets? Naturally, the profitable pairing stuck and spread through movie theaters all around the world.
Popcorn with chocolate turns this love affair into a threesome
There’s something so satisfying about a bucket of movie theater popcorn, your favorite chocolate candy of choice, and a movie on the big screen.
m&ms and popcorn? elite combo.
— natalie (@tenatcity_) March 7, 2021
— Briggsycakes (@Briggsycakes) March 9, 2021
Don’t let ANYONE shame you for this perfect combination.
put buncha crunch in ur movie theater popcorn 🍿 thank me later
— lex 🦂 (@_lexalv) June 18, 2018
This is us thanking you nearly three years later, @_lexalv.
How to make popcorn: tips & tricks
Perhaps one of the best things about popcorn is all the ways you can make it!
While you can keep it old school and make it over an open fire while camping under the stars., popcorn cooking has evolved beyond the campsite. Today people make popcorn right at home on the stove-top, in the microwave, or in a hot-air popcorn maker. We can still remember sitting on the counter at home watching the kernels turn to popcorn and fall into the popcorn bucket below.
So, is popcorn good for you?
The way you make popcorn has a lot to do with just how healthy it is.
Popcorn by itself is healthy (that’s #HollyGOOD news for moviegoers): it’s high in fiber, has protein, contains no cholesterol, and is virtually fat-free. Popcorn is also a great choice for people following a gluten-free or keto diet as most popcorn can fit into both.
The best way to cook it to keep all the health benefits is to air pop your popcorn in a machine. According to the USDA, a 28g serving of air-popped popcorn has 160 calories, 3 grams of protein, 19g of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fiber.
Are popcorn calories really that low? Yes, BUT…
You know there’s always a “but” when it comes to healthy snacks.
Cooking popcorn in oil or butter adds to the fat content and there’s some research shows that microwaved popcorn is unhealthy and linked to certain health issues. So to keep enjoying this snack during all your movie nights, but maybe stick to the stovetop or air-popped popcorn.
Here’s a little trick we learned while researching this article: in order to get the best result from your stovetop popcorn, leave the lid of the pot slightly ajar. If you close the lid all the way, it will create steam that can’t escape making your popcorn soggy. And no one wants soggy popcorn. We like it crisp and crunchy.
While this trick is great, it’s always worth springing for the real deal at the movies.
Me, eating healthy:
Lunch – Salad and Water
Supper – Hot dog, large movie theater popcorn with extra extra butter, buncha crunch and some of my brother’s Skittles.
It’s called balance.
— Aaron Bjerke (@justbjerkinit) April 26, 2019
It’s called balance sweetie, look it up.
Popcorn recipes & popcorn flavors worth munching on
Butter popcorn is the classic move, but we were today years old when we discovered this buttery movie theater popcorn hack using I can’t believe it’s not butter! spray:
To all my homemade popcorn lovers still trying to find the best mimic of movie theater popcorn,
This. This is the secret weapon. After ten long years of trying different things, someone said “spray butter” once and a lightbulb went off.
Spray generously & top with season salt. pic.twitter.com/ebIM9N569P
— steph (@steph_anoodle) February 14, 2021
This variety pack of popcorn seasonings includes flavors to satisfy a salty or sweet popcorn craving. The 8-pack of easy-to-use shakers includes nacho cheddar, ranch, caramel corn, white cheddar, bacon cheddar, kettle corn, cheesy jalapeno and butter.
If you’re feeling ambitious, try one of these 50 popcorn recipes including some pretty creative combos. We tried margarita, ranch, truffle, sushi, and sriracha lime and they were all delicious in their own unique way!
We must admit that nothing compares to a bucket of buttery movie theater popcorn. Maybe it’s the nostalgia, maybe it’s the smell, maybe it’s the greasy fingers, or maybe it’s the whole experience of going to the movies. Whatever it is, we’re glad that cities all over the country are reopening movie theaters so we can get back to the real thing.
Us singing to movie theater popcorn: “nothing compares to youuu”
We’re so glad that there are so many ways to make popcorn at home, but we have to agree with @JERICHO––there’s nothing like the real thing:
I’ve come to the conclusion that making popcorn at home will never be as good as movie theater popcorn. Ever.
— TUCKER (@JERICHO) July 1, 2020
Luckily, movie theaters are starting to reopen across the country which means you can enjoy your favorite snack somewhere other than your couch or your bed.. Check out our tips for safely heading back to the movie theaters including finding what movie theaters are open near you. Plus, take a look at the latest new movie releases here.
More Like This: Everything you need to know before you rent a movie theater
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