Sweet Talk, Day Five: Popcorn Balls

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Every weekday until Halloween, I'll be offering up trivia treats about sweets you're likely to encounter on October 31. Or, in today's case, October 31, 1900.

popcorn-balls3.jpg1) Popcorn balls were one of the most popular treats in the late 1800s and early 1900s. (Photo courtesy of Tomorrow's Friendly Food.)

2) Popular flavorings during that time period included orange and lemon juice, rose, peppermint, honey, vanilla, molasses and sugar.

3) 30 percent of popcorn in the U.S. is sold at circuses, movies, fairs and baseball games.

4) I was all set to tell you that the largest popcorn ball ever made lives in Sac City, Iowa, weighing in at 3,100 pounds. But it turns out that the record was topped in 2006 by our neighbors in Lake Forest, Illinois. Lake Forest is home to the Popcorn Factory, a company that makes about 1,000,000 pounds of popcorn every year. The ball took employees two days to make and came in at eight feet in diameter and almost 24.5 feet in circumference. It weighs 3,423 pounds. (Continue reading for a picture.)

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5) Take this one with a grain of salt (ha), but supposedly the popcorn ball was accidentally invented in Nebraska during the "Year of the Striped Weather." During this year, there was scorching hot sun covering part of a farm and torrential rain on the other part (those of us familiar with Midwestern weather know that this is entirely possible.) The sun made the corn pop and the rain washed the syrup out of the sugarcane. Because the farm was on a hill, syrup flowed down into the corn and it rolled into a big ball of deliciousness. Hmmm.

Yesterday: M&M's. Friday: Candy Apples. Thursday: Tootsie Rolls. Wednedsay: Snickers. Tomorrow: Sixlets, Candy Corn and Swedish Fish. Plus a big Halloween giveaway!

October 30, 2007 - 9:20am
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