POPCORN

QUESTION:  Which of the following towns considers itself the popcorn capital of the world?
A)  Marion, Ohio
B)  Valparaiso, Indiana
C)  Ridgway, Illinois
D)  North Loop, Nebraska
ANSWER BELOW

Popcorn is one of those purely American inventions.  We can say that because corn in and of itself was unknown to the world until the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus in 1492.  It started in Mexico, with the oldest specimen of popcorn dating around 5,600 years old, from a region that is now New Mexico.  The first time it was officially called 'popped corn' was in 1848, published in The Dictionary of Americanisms.  And the corn was popped by hand, over heated surfaces, until the 1890's invention by Chicago candy store owner Charles Cretor of a steam-powered popcorn maker inspired by the sorts of machines you still see today in many cities that heat nuts.  

During the Great Depression, many families could not afford the luxury of candy, so they turned to popcorn as a treat.  Sales skyrocketed, and families including the Redenbachers made a sustainable living selling them, Orville Redenbacher's name eventually becoming synonymous with popcorn!  In 1938, movie theater owner Glen W. Dickson installed a popcorn popping machine, effectively beginning a trend that would be embraced everywhere.  By World War II, the refined sugar needed for most candies was rationed, and popcorn consumption tripled.  It has remained on the public mind - and tongue - ever since.  Especially when the option to douse popcorn in butter and salt appeared.  Tasty!

ANSWER:  This is a trick question.  Along with the towns of Shaller, Iowa and Van Buren, Indiana, every one of these communities claims the title!