How to make popcorn
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How to make popcorn

Popcorn
Popcorn

Corn's not as good for you as carrot sticks or salad, but still you can make a pretty healthy snack that tastes good by making popcorn. To make popcorn the way the Aztecs did it, you'll need to get some regular popping corn (not microwave popcorn). They'll have it at the grocery store.

Put two spoonfuls of vegetable oil or butter into a frying pan and spread it around. Turn on the stove and get the pan pretty hot. Now pour about 1/4 cup of popping corn on top of the oil. Cover the pan with a lid (a glass lid is good so you can see through it, but you can also use a steel lid). Shake the pan back and forth so that the kernels move around. In a few minutes they will start to pop. Keep the lid on, or popcorn will go all over your kitchen! Keep shaking the pan.

When the noise of the popping has pretty much stopped, take the pan off the heat and take off the lid. You'll have a great snack waiting for you to eat it. (You can add butter and salt if you want to, but try it first without them - popcorn is good all by itself!)

Some other things to try - the Aztecs didn't have a lot of oil, so they actually made popcorn without oil in the pan. You can do it too, but it's harder to do without burning any. Also try putting cayenne pepper on top of your popcorn to make it spicy.

More about corn
More about chili peppers

Bibliography and further reading about corn:

Making tacos and refried beans
Making chili and cornbread
More about Central American food
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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