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Food & Recipes

 What makes popcorn pop?

Ever wonder how popcorn pops? The answer is simple: water - or rather, steamed water. Each kernel of corn has a hollow of moisture and it is this moisture that becomes steamed when heated. Pressure from the steam builds in the enclosed kernel until the kernel "pops" and becomes popped corn, or as we familiarly know it, popcorn. Popcorn isn't a recent invention as many people believe. Archeologists have found evidence that corn plants were cultivated in Mexico's central plateaus as far back as 2,500 B.C. Medicine men from the ancient Aztecs heated corn kernels in ceremonial fires, then watched which way the kernel popped to determine the future.

They wore ceremonial necklaces of popcorn dedicated to the god Tialoc, who was the god of goodwill and maize (corn). Peruvian Indians also used the treat in their ceremonies and dress, which was noted by explorer Cortez in his travels. Corn might have stayed regional had not Christopher Columbus brought back kernels to Europe, where the crop was cultivated and eventually became a food staple. By the time the Pilgrims came to American shores, popcorn had also become a staple among Native American tribes and was one of the foods the Wampanoag tribe brought to the first Thanksgiving dinner in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

As popped corn became more in demand, someone was bound to find a way to make its production easier for public consumption. In 1885, American inventor Charles Cretors produced the prototype of the first popcorn machine. The machine was designed primarily as a peanut roaster with a top shelf to produce popcorn. It wasn't until 1893, however, that Cretors produced a fully dedicated popcorn machine, which he introduced at the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. This more sophisticated prototype was a mobile, steam-driven machine that awed the attendees.

Popcorn as a snack grew especially popular during the early 1900s.Vendors hauled poppers on horse-drawn buggies and sold their treats at state fairs and carnivals. By the time the great Depression hit, the reasonably-priced snack was one the few "luxuries" that poor families could afford at five cents a bag. During WWII, popcorn replaced candy consumption in the U.S. as most of the sugar produced was sent overseas to the troops. Through the years, the buttery, tasty treat eventually became a familiar offering at movie theaters, carnivals and amusement parks. With the evolving popularity of popcorn came the evolution of the popcorn machine. Newer models are made for any venue, public or private. Home theaters often feature smaller models that mimic those found in larger movie theaters. Nostalgia buffs can find antique-styled popcorn machines reminiscent of those early popcorn wagons.

Today's popcorn machines basically operate the same way, no matter the style. The enclosed part of the machine is called the kettle and is where the corn kernels are popped. Inside the kettle, at the top, is a pan and at the bottom is a warmer. Before the machine is turned on, seasonings are added to the pan for flavoring. Oil is also introduced to heat the kernels faster and more evenly. When the machine is turned on, the pan heats up and a small paddle circles the pan; without this motion, the kernels will not pop evenly and some of the kernels will burn. The popped kernels overflow the pan and falls to the base where they are kept warm for serving.

Not every corn type will pop. Some varieties do not have the necessary amount of moisture to "explode". Corn is grown worldwide, but particularly in the U.S., Argentina and the southern region of France. Farmers cultivate particular strains of corn specifically to have the requisite water that will make the kernels pop when heated. As long as they do, the world will always have popcorn. That's good news for those who like a tasty snack with their movies.

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Resource Box Info: offers a wide range of possibilities for businesses, schools or concessionaires. Visit them online for more information on their popcorn machine, snow cone machines or cotton candy machines.

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Real Estates

 Real Estate on The Big Island of Hawaii

Most people think of Oahu or Maui when they think about the state of Hawaii. They imagine visits to Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, Kihei, or LaHaina. However, the Island of Hawaii is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands and has the most real estate and square acreage available. Hawaii is also the biggest and the most diverse island.

In fact, Hawaii is larger in square mileage than all of the rest of the Hawaiian Islands together. The Island of Hawaii also features five volcanoes. You may have heard about Kilauea on the news, as this volcano is very active. It is erupting almost continuously and pouring lava out into the ocean. Many tourists visit the area annually, but the volcano itself is far from populated areas of the Big Island.

Hawaii actually has a very diverse mix of terrain on the Big Island-ranging from mountain slopes-both treeless and forested-and near desert situations in the north to tropical forests and even high plains. There's a little big of everything! In addition, there are agricultural areas that are well known for growing famous coffee beans, macadamia nuts, plumeria, and other tropical fruits.

As mentioned, Hawaii is famous for coffee and the town of Kona is very popular and well known for the production of Kona coffee. The town is also famous for being the starting place for the Ironman Triathlon. The name of this town-Kailua-Kona-on the Big Island is hyphenated because the Island of Oahu also has a town named Kailua.

The infamous Kona coffee is grown on the sides and slopes of another volcano, the Hualalai volcano, at elevations of 1,000 feet on higher. Here the area is rainy because moist tropical air flows up from below and then condenses into precipitation. This coffee is also grown elsewhere on the island. The volcanic soil is rich and conducive to growing the famous beans due to this type of environment.

Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea are also two very well-known volcanoes on the Island of Hawaii. Both stretch upward more than 30,000 feet from the floor of the ocean, making them taller than Mount Everest if you actually consider that fact. From sea level, Mauna Loa is 13,680 feet high and Mauna Kea is 13,796 feet high. Perhaps you have heard about the Keck telescope that is located toward the top of Mauna Kea. You might also be surprised to learn that visitors to Hawaii can often see snow on the top of these two mountainous volcanoes.

Did you know that the Island of Hawaii is so large that you could drive more than an entire day before you would get back to your starting point? As a result, residents rarely experience the "island fever" residents of the smaller islands suffer from. In addition to the island size, Hawaii also has some unique attributes related to atmosphere and quality of life for its residents that the other islands may not. Here life feels very similar to what suburban residents in other parts of the U.S. experience. Daily routines include work and church, soccer games, and social engagements. It's not quite like living in the middle of a resort area or tourist center the way it is on some of the smaller islands. There is even a large park north of the Kailua Harbor in what used to be the airport there.

Real estate is readily available for residential occupancy on the Big Island of Hawaii. Many middle class families make there homes here. In addition, there are many extravagant estates available for a more luxurious lifestyle, as well. Hawaii is a great all-American community within which to live, and it features a wide variety of diversity and cultural experiences. Take a look around on your next vacation to Hawaii. You may just decide you want to live here!

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Michael Key has been writing for 30 years. For more information on Hawaii visit Ooma Plantation Big Island Real Estate.

Keywords Tag:
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