Poppin Good Fun

Just For Kids

Yak's Corner

January 25, 1999|By MARTY HAIR

For a blast right in your kitchen, pop some corn. You'll be having a snack that people have enjoyed for thousands of years.

Popcorn is a type of corn that is native to the Americas. It may even have been the first type of corn that people grew and ate, according to scientists who study plants.

Native Americans introduced settlers from England to popcorn at the first Thanksgiving. The Iroquois Indians popped popcorn in pottery bowls filled with hot sand. They also ate a soup made of popcorn.

Popcorn has small, hard seeds called kernels that are surrounded by a hard outer covering. The kernel contains starch and a little bit of moisture. When the kernels are heated, the water inside gets hot, pressure builds and the outer covering explodes. As it does, the kernel turns inside out and you hear the loud ``pop!'' Over the years, ``popped corn'' has been shortened to ``popcorn.''

These recipes begin with regular or plain microwave popcorn. Check the label to see how many kernels to use to make 2 quarts of unsalted popcorn. It's usually about 1/3 to 1/2 cup regular kernels or 1 bag of microwave popcorn.

Ask a grown-up to help you make these snacks. The ingredients you'll need are in bold.

Peanut Butter Popcorn

Put 2 quarts of popped popcorn in a bowl. Discard any kernels that didn't pop.

In a saucepan on the stove, melt 3 tablespoons butter or margarine over low heat. Stir in 3 tablespoons chunky peanut butter.

With a large spoon, drizzle the peanut butter-butter mixture over the popcorn.

Seasoned Cheese popcorn

Put 2 quarts of popped popcorn in a bowl. Discard any kernels that didn't pop.

In a saucepan on the stove, melt 5 tablespoons butter or margarine over low heat. Add 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon regular salt or onion salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

With a large spoon, drizzle the cheese mixture over the popcorn.

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