, , , ,

Then he thought if he had some milk, he would have popcorn and milk.

You can fill a glass full to the brim with milk, and fill another glass of the same size brim full of popcorn, and then you can put all the popcorn kernel by kernel into the milk, and the milk will not run over.

from Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder (and yes, I’ve tried it, and it works)

Kernels of Trivia: 

  • Popcorn is a subspecies of corn called Zea mays everta, and like all corn, it is part of the grass family
  • An 8 foot in diameter popcorn ball, weighing 3,415 lbs, created in 2006 in Lake Forest, IL is the largest popcorn ball on record
  • A popcorn kernel needs 14% moisture content to pop
  • The oldest popcorn popper was discovered in Peru dating back to 300 AD
  • October is National Popcorn Popping Month!
  • After bread, popcorn is one of the most popular foods that people feed waterfowl. Unfortunately, feeding waterfowl isn’t a good idea
  • Popcorn is the official state snack food of the state of Illinois
  • Archaeological evidence of popcorn dates back to 4700 BC in Peru
  • During the Great Depression, popcorn became exceedingly popular due to its relatively low price and was one of a few businesses that did well.

Money $aver Tip:
Whatever you do, never buy another bag of microwave popcorn! Or Jiffy Pop–though I admit the kids love to watch the foil expand… Buying popcorn kernels and making in the microwave, in a regular brown paper bag or on the stove isn’t any harder (or even that much more clean-up) and in many ways has less of an effect on the waste stream (those microwave bags are’t compostable, but the brown paper bag is).

Microwave Popcorn in a Paper Bag
Popcorn on the Stove
Campfire Popcorn
If you have a fireplace…get one of these!

The Science of Popping Corn:
Popcorn works because each individual kernel (thanks to the hard shell) becomes its own pressure cooker, which then explodes, turning itself inside out.  Inside the shell is a starchy substance and water.  As the kernel heats up, the water turns into steam and the steam cooks the starch into a super hot jelly-like substance that explodes.  After exploding, the water evaporates and the starch dries out, leaving the kernel flipped inside out, in the shape we know as popcorn.

Magical Associations of Corn:
Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus (Cunningham), Pluto (Beyerl)
Element: Earth
Season: Lammas and Mabon
Deities: agriculture and solar deities
Correspondences: Protection, Luck, Divination, Blessing, Offering, Fertility, Abundance

Popcorn Magic:
Mrs. B.’s site, Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom has a great post on family inclusive magic, using popcorn*, which is pretty much the basic recipe for any popcorn magic (so go and read it, I’ll still be here when you’re done!).  Seriously, this is kid-friendly kitchen witchery genius.  I discovered this post when Sharkbait was just a baby, and have been biding my time until they were old enough to enjoy it!!

Other than the fabulous food fun and magic that you can create and eat using Mrs. B’s suggestions, there are few more things you can do with popcorn that is perfect for witchlet magic…

Edited to add:  This linked post is 404, but I managed to snag a copy of it from The Examiner, and I’ll post  a copy of that in the comments in case the copy disappears.

Popcorn Offerings–I’m not sure if you are aware of it, but nature spirits like popcorn.  I have it on authority from Chickadee who has had complex relationship with a number of nature spirits, that they almost all like popcorn, particularly the sea gull spirits (I could totally write a blog post about my daughter’s personal pantheon). This is a great way to introduce the kidlets to the idea of a relationship with the land…however, because of the (practical) negative implications of feeding wildlife, it is important to not leave food out too much or too often and to change the area where offerings are left, so that wildlife do not become accustomed to it.

Popcorn Chains–At Yule, when we decorate our tree, we include a popcorn garland.  Part of our tradition when we make it is to use what we add to say a thank you and a blessing for someone we love (not for every single piece, but for our “family strand” of garland that that goes on the top of the tree).  Stringing magic popcorn into edible jewelry is an easy way to add a bit of extra love or joy or healing blessings for the kids, and it even makes a great sibling or parent gift.  A few months ago, when Chickadee did something especially naughty, got it in her head to make a “sorry necklace” for her brother.  After eating carmel popcorn on a string, Sharkbait was in a better mood to forgive her…

Popcorn Fortune Balls–This should be pretty obvious–think fortune cookie in a popcorn ball.  Or, if you are packing a lunch for a trip or a day at school, put in an encouraging note or positive thought.  Put a popcorn fortune ball on the end of a straw, and add some pipe-cleaner petals for a edible bouquet gift from the kids.  All you need are some small strips of paper with a message written on them, and a popcorn ball recipe–stuff the message in the center of the ball as you shape it.