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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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popcorn a snack made by roasting dried maize kernels of a particular variety in a closed pan with a little fat. The starch in the maize swells as it cooks, and ‘pops’ audibly as it bursts the outer skin of the kernels. The resulting light, crunchy morsels are often enhanced by coating with toffee or butterscotch; or eaten with salt. Popcorn is a popular street (and cinema) food in N. America.

Betty Fussell (1992) talks eloquently about the place of popcorn in the affection of N. Americans:

Popcorn is a truly indigenous fast finger-food that links all ages, places, races, classes and kinds in the continuing circus of American life. Popcorn is the great equalizer, which turns itself inside out to attest to our faith that colour is only skin deep and class superfluous.