Once upon a time, there was no such things as popcorn. Then movies were invented and popcorn took over cinemas (cinemi?) in the blink of a kernel.
Popcorn pops because each kernel contains a teeny tiny drop of water put there by the popcorn fairies just before the corn is picked.
As the kernel heats up (either in my 1980s hot air popper or your popping conveyance of choice), the water begins to expand (that part is true. So is the part about me still using my 1980s hot air popper). When it hits 212 degrees, the water turns to steam which changes the starch inside the kernel into (and I’m quoting here) “a superhot gelatinous goop.” Oh, yum.
The kernel continues to heat up. When it reaches 347 degrees, the pressure is 135 pounds per square inch and the hull BURSTS open. I do not know why 134 pounds per square inch is insufficient pressure, but apparently thems the facts.
In the mini-popcorn explosion, the steam is released, the soft starchy goop inflates, spills out, and cools immediately (and if you’ve ever touched a piece of popcorn right after it’s popped, you know that “cools immediately” is a relative term).
Archeologists (people who put the past in front of them) have found popcorn kernels (probably the unpopped kind) in caves in New Mexico that are more than 4,000 years old. Both the popcorn and the caves, but not the archeologists. This important discovery suggests that movies have been around much longer than previously thought.
It is a little known fact that legislation passed by the popcorn fairy lobby requires a certain percentage of unpoppable corn in each batch. Some people call these unpopped kernels “old maids.” Other people are smart enough to keep their mouths shut. Popcorn fairies think it is hilarious to watch people bite down on hard kernels in the middle of movies. No one knows why but smart people don’t mess with anyone blessed with wings and magic.
I think I’ll go make use of my 1980s hot air popcorn popper now.