Tuesday, November 29, 2011


It is very hard for me to go to the movies without ordering a big bag of buttery popcorn. This Thanksgiving weekend was no different.

While I chomped down on the fluffy, yet crunchy goodness, I wondered how popcorn became so popular in America. At that moment, I knew I had found another MUSE!

After the movie, I went back to my writer’s studio to research POPCORN. Don’t’ tell anybody, but I popped another bowlful when I got there. I munched and munched while unraveling the history of this popular snack. Here is what I found:

The oldest ears of popcorn were found in a cave in New Mexico. These ears are believed to be around 4000 years old.

Native Americans were the first to eat popcorn. Some believed that little spirits lived within the corn, and when heated, the little spirits became angry. They would pop out of their little homes and disappear as a tiny cloud of steam.

Some Native American tribes also used popcorn for ceremonial use. The Aztecs wore headdresses adorned with popcorn. They would also decorate statues of the corn god with popcorn.

Traveling closer in time, Charles Cretors invented the first mobile popcorn popper in 1893. People could cart this machine around to fairs and expositions and make a good profit.  This led to increasing popularity of popcorn in America.

During the Great Depression (1930’s), popcorn stayed relatively inexpensive compared to other “luxury” type foods. A struggling family could usually afford the five cents a bag of popcorn would cost.

During World War II, Americans tripled their popcorn indulgence. Since sugar was sent to the U.S. troops overseas, there was less sugar to make candies and other snacks. Popcorn became a quick alternative.

Popcorn was already enjoyed at movie theatres before the invention of the television. Soon, Americans made the habit of eating popcorn while watching their favorite shows and movies at home, too. And with the invention of the microwave and microwavable popcorn, popcorn consumption rose even more dramatically!

Today, Americans eat 17 billion quarts of popcorn each year. That is an average of 54 quarts per person. I’m sure I eat at least double that! (snicker…snicker)

So, how does Popcorn pop, anyway?

Each kernel of popcorn contains a tiny drop of water. This water is stored inside a circle of soft starch. A hard outer hull bundles this soft starch.

When water is heated, it starts to expand. At 212 degrees, the water turns to steam and turns the starch into a gelatinous goop. After the contents reach 347 degrees, the pressure inside causes the kernel to POP!

The gelatinous starch spills out and cools very quickly. This causes it to harden into the fluffy shape we are familiar with. The kernel is now up to 50 times its original size!

While researching, I also found out that most of the world’s popcorn is grown in the great Midwestern state of Indiana! Indiana is also home to the most famous popcorn man, Orville Redenbacher! I’m sure you have seen his brand of popcorn in the aisles of your local supermarket. Here are his most famous lines:

“My gourmet popping corn pops up lighter and fluffier than ordinary popping corn. Mine is blowing the top right off the popper. Mine eats better, too. Try my gourmet popping corn. You’ll taste the difference, or my name isn’t Orville Redenbacher.”

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these “what if” questions will help you get started:

WHAT IF my main character had a magic popcorn kettle? With some magic words, the kettle popped an endless supply of popcorn.

WHAT IF your main character lived on a popcorn farm in Indiana? One night he sees a spaceship land in one of the fields. What do the aliens want with his popcorn???

WHAT IF the ghost of Orville Redenbacher knocked on your door? Would you give him some popcorn to go away? Or would you invite him in to stay a while? What would your main character do?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own “what if” question in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us!

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

The word of the day is “gelatinous”. Here is the definition: having the nature of or resembling jelly or gelatin.


  1. What if popcorn was a book page?
    What if popcorn was diner?
    What if popcorn talked?
    What if popcorn said "I want butter"?
    What if popcorn had his own iPhone?
    What if he liked songs.
    What if he listened to jazz?
    What if he ate water?
    What if he was root bear?
    What if he turned into eggs?
    What if popcorn was on fire?
    What if he or she had a mom?
    What if popcorn was not real?
    What if popcorn ate people?
    What if popcorn turned into a shark?

  2. What if popcorn was something that turned into butter?
    What if popcorn was on popcorn show?
    What if a piece of popcorn had a iPod?
    What if popcorn was 7 up?
    What if popcorn was on you tube?
    What if popcorn talked?
    What if popcorn turned into a piece of paper?
    What if popcorn ate us?
    What if popcorn was in the water ?
    What if popcorn said "I want some corn"?
    What if popcorn was apple juice?

  3. What if I were a piece of popcorn?

  4. What if it rained popcorn?
    What if Santa was popcporn?
    What if Santa only fed his raindeer popcorn?
    What if Hayden's spots on her jacket turned into popcorn?
    What if Chestnut Hill Acadamy over flowed with popcorn?
    What if there was a fish that could turn into popcorn?
    What if there was a horse who's fur was popcorn?
    What if gingerbread men turned into popcorn men?
    What if Hayden were popcorn?
    What if furniture were popcorn?
    What if John Steed turn into popcorn?
    What if windows were made of popcorn?
    What if lightning were made of popcorn?
    What if mountins were made of popcorn?
    What if water was made of popcorn?
    What if light was made of popcorn?
    What if the sun was made of popcorn?
    What if everyones eyes were popcorn?
    What if paper was popcorn?
    What if Snoopy was made of popcorn?
    What if a popcorn monster went on a rampage?
    What if a popcorn monster destroyed Snoqualmie?
    What if Snoqualmie over flowed with popcorn?
    What if alumanyum was made with popcorn?
    By: Sakura

  5. what if popcorn went extinct?
    what if everyone hated popcorn?
    what if popcorn took over the world?
    what if popcorn liked chocolate?
    what if chocolate married popcorn?
    what if everybody turned into popcorn?
    what if popcorn grew on trees?
    what if popcorn went to school?
    what if popcorn wanted to be something else?
    what if someone scared popcorn?
    what if popcorn didn't want to pop?
    what if popcorn were as big as humans?
    what if the world became a popcorn kernel?
    what if popcorn ate itself?
    what if popcorn was electric?
    what if popcorn had $123,456,789.00?
    what if there was a popcorn president?
    what if popcorn played soccer?
    what if popcorn had technology?
    what if mcdonalds sold only popcorn?
    what if popcorn wrote this?

  6. what if popcorn had a girl/boyfriend?
    what if popcorn robbed a bank?
    what if popcorn went to chile?
    what if popcorn loved pigs?
    what if popcorn had a favorite teddy bear?
    what if popcorn turned back into kernels?
    what if popcorn's phone number was;111-111-1111?
    what if popcorn was a celeb?
    what if popcorn could hypnotize things?
    what if popcorn could grant wishes?
    what if popcorn owned a restaurant?
    what if popcorn could fly?
    what if popcorn smoked?
    what if popcorn lived in the white house?
    what if popcorn turned poisonous?
    what if popcorn had one big family?
    what if popcorn could read?
    what if popcorn had a poodle?
    what if popcorn liked basketball?
    what if popcorn bought a 3D tv?
    what if popcorn was very clumsy?
    what if popcorn donated things a lot?
    what if popcorn hada pea-sized brain?
    what if popcorn knew 789+987=1776?
    what if popcorn was allergic to pollen?
    what if popcorn turned black?
    what if popcorn was more important than oxygen?
    what if popcorn dialed 911 for fun?
    what if popcorn came from antarctica?

  7. what if popcorn ran away?
    what if popcorn was bald?
    what if popcorn ate a lot?
    what if popcorn popped until it was huge?
    what if popcorn took a trip around the world?
    what if popcorn fought in a war?
    what if popcorn shrank?
    what if popcorn was waterproof?
    what if popcorn ate an elephant?
    what if popcorn liked eating bread?
    what if popcorn exploded?
    what if popcorn enjoyed going to the beach?
    what if popcorn had 1,937,563,846,573 brothers?
    what if popcorn had 3,756,486,357,391 sisters?
    what if popcorn's name was bob?
    what if popcorn could drive?
    what if popcorn owned a donkey?
    what if popcorn had a pear tree?
    what if popcorn's birthday was apr. 23 ?
    what if popcorn was very evil?
    what if popcorn got chicken pox?
    what if popcorn popped when it was cold?
    what if popcorn liked pokemon?
    what if popcorn's favorite color was red?
    what if popcorn smelled like roses?
    what if popcorn turned into a mouse?
    what if popcorn could skate?
    what if popcorn had a radio that said,"Hi"?
    what if popcorn didn't take a bath for a decade?
    what if popcorn hated magic and circuses?

  8. what if popcorn drank coffee?
    what if popcorn lost a tooth?
    what if popcorn could cook?
    what if popcorn had a dog?
    what if popcorn made a new invention?
    what if popcorn popped for a year?
    what if popcorn was drunk?
    what if popcorn had a cell phone?
    what if popcorn was in the olympics?
    what if popcorn liked watermelon?
    what if popcorn had curly hair?
    what if popcorn was a robot?
    what if popcorn lived on a different planet?
    what if popcorn never existed?
    what if "popcorn" was short for "popcornnrocpop"
    what if popcorn was a policeman?
    what if popcorn danced on the street?
    what if popcorn lied?
    what if popcorn had homework?
    what if popcorn was 199 years old?
    what if popcorn had a bike?
    what if popcorn liked yogurt?
    what if popcorn was a construction worker?
    what if popcorn was overweight?
    what if popcorn wrote a diary?
    what if popcorn's house's floor was 1928 sq.ft.?
    what if popcorn could sing?
    what if popcorn turned into a woodchuck?
    what if popcorn could lift a car?
    what if popcorn had fur?
    what if popcorn was velvet?
    what if popcorn's favorite animal was a rabbit?
    what if popcorn's last name was Qazwsxed?
    what if popcorn hated everything?
    what if popcorn had huge eyes?
    what if popcorn was violent?
    what if popcorn was a genius?
    what if popcorn had a million bug bites?
    what if popcorn lived in Spain?
    what if popcorn loved lollipops?

  9. What if popcorn was a drink?
    What if popcorn with butter was good for you?
    What if popcorn was not real?
    What if popcorn could talk?
    What if popcorn was the best thing you could have?
    What if popcorn had a brain?
    What if popcorn was made out of ice?
    What if popcorn was made from wind?
    What if popcorn was in ever persons lunch box?

  10. 1. What if the Carpathia didn't come?
    2. What if the Titanic didn't sink?
    3. What if the water twmp. was higher?
    4. What if the Titanic was supposed to sink?
    5. What if the other ships all stopped to help?
    6. What if the Titanic was smaller?
    7. What if the Titanic sank but then came up
    8. What if the Titanic was a airplane
    9. What if the Titanic sank in the day-time
    10. What if the Titanic went slower
    11. What if the Titanic didn't hit the iceberg?
    12. What if the other ships including the Carpathia didn't come?
    13. What if the Titanic sank in a different part of the ocean
    14. What if the Titanic had less passengers
    15. What if the Titanic had more passengers

  11. 1. What if popcorn came alive?
    2. What if popcorn lived in London?
    3. What if popcorn went to school and became a super genius?
    4. What if popcorn was poisonous?
    5. What if when you ate popcorn you exploded?
    6. What if when you ate popcorn you had super powers?
    7. What if popcorn vanished before humans found it?
    8. What if popcorn ate popcorn?
    9. What if stopped popping?
    10. What if popcorn drank coffee?
    11. What if popcorn was a robber?
    12. What if popcorn had pet tigers?
    13. What if movie theaters were never made?
    14. What if microwave popcorn was never made?
    15. What if popcorn took over the world?
    16. What if popcorn owned humans?
    17. What if popcorn is what Santa gave to naughty children instead of coal?
    18. What if popcorn popped if you just looked at it?
    19. What if popcorn was found on the moon?
    20. What if popcorn was an un-known creature?
    21. What if popcorn was made by aliens?
    22. What if popcorn grew to the size of a monster?
    23. What if popcorn fell in love with a piggy bank?
    24. What if popcorn survived a tornado?
    25. What if popcorn liked playing cards?
    26. What if popcorn married a doughnut?
    27. What if popcorn was a drink flavor?
    28. What if popcorn was a drink?
    29. What if popcorn liked to dance to music?
    30. What if I turned into popcorn?
    31. What if popcorn loved you?
    32. What if popcorn traveled around the world?

  12. 1. What if the snow globes replica was Wisconsin
    2. What if the snow globe was a killer monster.
    3. What if the snow globe was the whole earth
    4. What if a person was trapped inside the snow globe
    5. What if the globe was made of ice
    6. What if scene inside the globe was really real
    7. What if the dome was an ice scatting ring
    8. What if the dome was made out of dried acid
    9. What if the dome was levitating
    10. What if an elephant swallowed it
    11. What if it was a mouse's home
    12. What if a car ran over it
    13. What if it rolled down a hill and become a snow ball
    14. What if a canon could shoot snow globes
    15. What if snow globes grew on trees
    16. What if you opened a carton of eggs and there were 12 snow globes
    17. What if you had snow globes for eyes
    18. What if chickens laid snow globes
    19. What if snow globes were dodge balls
    20. What if it hailed snow globes
    21. What if snow globes were bowling balls
    22. What if you threw them in the water and exploded

  13. What if a bag of popcoorn could turn into anything you wanted it to.

  14. What if popcorn could give you advice

  15. What if popcorn gave you magical powers when you ate it

  16. what if there was a planet called pop planet
    what if popcorn was a yellow crayon
    what if popcorn was poisones
    what if popcorn could talk
    what if popcorn was 20 pounds
    what if popcorn was 100 feet

  17. 1) What if burnt popcorn was toxic?

    2) What if popcorn got popped on Jupiter?

    3) What if popcorn was somebody's name?

    4) What if pieces of popcorn had genies inside of them?

    5) What if popcorn was magic?

    6) What if popcorn could eat watermelon?

    7) What if popcorn was your grandmother?

    8) What if popcorn could walk?

    9) What if our brains were made of popcorn?

    10) What if popcorn won a prize for the best cakes?

    11) What if there was such a thing as popcorn pie?

    12) What if popcorn was the new infinity?

    13) What if popcorn was the name of a new kind of phone?

    14) What if you had a piece of popcorn for a classmate?

    15) What if popcorn could turn into people?

    16) What if popcorn was evil?

    17) What if popcorn had technology?

    18) What if a piece of popcorn had a blog?

    19) What if popcorn could type?

    20) What if popcorn wrote this?


  18. 1.What if popcorn wasn't edible?
    2.What if popcorn could have their own town?
    3.What if popcorn were alive?
    4.What if popcorn had a job?
    5.What if popcorn had a family?
    6.What if popcorn could talk?
    7.What if popcorn could wear make up?
    8.What if popcorn could drive?
    9.What if popcorn could go shopping?
    10.What if popcorn could buy things?
    11.What if popcorn could play sports?
    12.What if popcorn was smart?
    13.What if popcorn ate food?
    14.What if popcorn had it's own bus?
    15.What if popcorn could sing?
    16.What if popcorn could be in plays?
    17.What if popcorn had magical powers.
    18.What if popcorn was harmful?
    19.What if popcorn could go to school.
    20.What if a popcorn weight was 200 pounds?

    -Queen Puppy Lover