Two French scientists determined in 2015 that starch inside heated popcorn kernels “forms a leglike appendage.” When that leg comes into contact with ground (i.e. the bottom of a pan or bag), it releases like a spring, sending the kernel somersaulting into the air. “It’s quite similar to when we humans jump because we also compress our muscles and release them,” says co-author Emmanuel Virot, an École Polytechnique engineer involved with the study.
Provided you don’t drown it in butter and salt, home-popped popcorn is actually a healthy snack: A 2012 study showed that one serving of popcorn had as many antioxidants as a day’s serving of fruit and vegetables.
The “secret ingredient” that makes movie popcorn taste different from at-home popcorn is a product called Flavacol, a powder made up of salt, artificial butter flavor and yellow coloring. A Food52 writer tried to re-create it, without much luck.
Best local movie popcorn? Back in the day I would have said the Harvard Exit, whose popcorn for some reason just tastes fresher — but that’s just a sweet memory now. Some swear by the chocolate popcorn at Cinerama; not me, I’m a purist. (A purist who, way too often, has popcorn for dinner. In my defense, I skip the butter.) The Rose in Port Townsend has awfully good popcorn, but that’s a bit of a jaunt for more of us. You tell me — where’s the best popcorn in town?
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Smoky Mountain Popcorn Company 2530 Parkway, Suite 25 Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 37863 Telephone: 865-428-6880 Email: email@example.com