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Today is a day to celebrate popcorn!

Did you know that the corn we eat and the corn we pop are two different varieties of maize? In fact, the corn you’d find on your dinner table is most likely unable to pop at all! Only one variety of corn is able to become popcorn: Zea mays everta (Z-MAY’S-EVER-DUH). This particular corn variety has small ears, and the kernels burst when exposed to dry heat.  

In 1948, small heads of Zea mays everta (Z-MAY’S-EVER-DUH) were discovered by Herbert Dick and Earle Smith in the Bat Cave of west central New Mexico. Ranging from smaller than a penny to about two inches, the oldest Bat Cave ears were about 4,000 years old. Several individually popped kernels were also discovered, which have since been carbon dated and shown to be approximately 5,600 years old. There’s also evidence of early use of popcorn in Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala, as well as other places in Central and South America.  

Aztecs used popcorn to decorate their clothes, create ceremonial embellishments, and also for nourishment. Native Americans have also been found to consume and utilize popcorn in their day to day lives. In a cave in Utah, thought to be inhabited by Pueblo Native Americans, popcorn has been found that dates back to over 1,000 years ago. French explorers who traveled to the new world discovered popcorn being made by the Iroquois Natives in the Great Lakes region. As colonists moved around North America, and as the USA came to be, many people adopted popcorn as a popular and healthy snack. 

…and tin cans? January 19th is National Tin Can Day! Some call this invention key to feeding soldiers and helping solve hunger issues…(from DaysoftheYear.com)

Cans were invented as a solution for hunger in combat. The French Directory, serving the years when Napoleon’s army fought battles in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and the Caribbean, offered a 12,000 franc prize (probably around $150,000 in today’s terms) for a breakthrough in the preservation of food.

Nicholas Appert, a Paris resident and chef, saw this opportunity and took it. Working for French nobility, he studied different methods of food preservation until he presented his creation to the Directory. He is known as the ‘father of canning.’

His factory progressed from bottles to glass containers and then eventually to tinplate cans. These preserves of different foods were shipped all over through the French navy. Then, two British men set up the first commercial canning factory in Britain in 1812.

Tin can preservation became a crucial element for the history of combat and war as well as helping solve hunger issues.

–          Born January 19, 1809 in Boston
–          My parents were both actors, but my mother died when I was two
–          I was fostered by the Allan family of Richmond, Virginia
–          I studied ancient and modern languages at the University of Virginia
–          I joined the US Army in 1827 but also released my first book of poems that year
–          I am best known for ‘The Raven’ and ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ and for starting modern detective stories
–          I died at 40 years of age in Baltimore

I am…Edgar Allan Poe.
Congratulations to Faith from Howard, who guessed correctly and wins the $5 gift card to Everlasting Cup.

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Dylan