Sunday 16 November 2014

Ted is amaized ..

Yes truly I was, and I bet you will be too.  Since the “Kings of Crispland” I have been asked  “why can’t we do a tasting?” by lots of people … ok one person, who shall remain nameless (Mandy).  Popcorn was suggested, so a deal was struck, and a venue and volunteers conscripted to the task.

As usual beforehand I ran search engines red hot in a bit of research. There is so much stuff out there about popcorn, there’s even Encyclopedia Popcornica (yes I know that sounds quite suspect but it’s not). All corn is "genus" maize and popcorn is both a type of maize and the name of the finished product. Of all of the types of maize apparently popcorn is the only one that really pops. The popcorn world is beset by claim, and counter claim, but they all agree that contrary to popular belief, it was not "discovered" by the native American Indians after winter storage of maize in the hot desert sands.

 It was in fact first “popped” many centuries earlier by the Aztecs who ate it, made jewellery out of it, and even fired it in raw form at the invading Spanish conquistadors.

It was in the US of course that it’s production was first commercialised around the 1890’s.  It shot to popularity in the 1930’s during the great depression after WWI and sugar rationing, as it was really cheap to produce, a great source of protein (even if they didn’t know this then) and most importantly, even the poor could afford it. Today 320 million Americans eat more than the body weight of 1% of their population in popcorn tons every year.

Great background for the “blind” popcorn tasting introduction speech. The (by now very bored and very hungry) tasters were asked to guess the flavours of each of the 10 popcorns and record their guesses, and the taste and texture ratings.  I had a scoring sheet devised by a super computer and enlisted an accountant friend to do the tallying and auditing of scores.
The panel drank champagne (yes really) and beer with the popcorn, but, mostly forgot to rate it, so busy were they trying to figure out the popcorn flavours.  Favourites were telling ... a la (almost) naturale ... salty, sweet and salty, and sweet.

The only “flavour” to garner any appreciation was cinnamon.  General consensus was that most of the “flavours” tasted synthetic and that Worcestershire sauce combined with fiery sun-dried tomato sauce flavoured popcorn has no place on planet earth.  


Stefan Jansson said...

I would have scored low here, I never eat popcorn. But I am glad that you are taking this serious!

Sharon said...

I think I have to agree with you about those last two favors mentioned. I haven't tasted them but, no they don't even sound good with popcorn. My favorite is just plain cheese. When David and I went to Chicago at the end of September, we brought back a bag of some popcorn from Garret's, a place where people stand in line for hours waiting to buy some. It was so good.

Ron Scheer said...

I'm for caramel corn.

William Kendall said...

It's been years since I've had popcorn... it doesn't do anything for me personally.

Jack said...

Ted, the Doll and you are performing an important service in advancing gastronomic knowledge. I have submitted your names to the Nobel prize committee.

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