About five times a day, here at the Great Orange Satan, someone yells POPCORN! I myself am guilty of this. And because I'm so suggestable, it often motivates me to (horrors) leave my keyboard for a few minutes! and go make popcorn.
I used to do microwave popcorn but several enlightenments happened. 1) I read the ingredients in the microwave package, very bad, palm oil, unpronounceable chemical names, bad. And 2) I looked at the pricetag Vs a bottle of generic popcorn from my local super. That microwave convenience was EXPENSIVE! Even if the profit was going to charity (Paul Newman's brand), I could use a little charity here, so I shifted to the bulk bought stuff.
When I was a kid, we'd had this stuff called Jiffy Pop that had a tinfoil package that expanded like a turban as the corn popped. That was cool! But you had to keep shaking it or it would burn. And it doesn't fit with my "less package, more content" philosophy, so I went with a cooking pot with a lid and a handle.
I like butter. Butter, however, does not like me, in fact it's trying to kill me. So I experimented with other oils. Canola oil, no flavor. Olive oil, some flavor but not butter (although it is awesome with garlic and onion powder!) I found a popcorn cooking oil (of a famous popcorn maven who's name I don't want to advertise (They are not sponsoring me)) that is soybean oil with butter flavoring (whatever that is) that actually works well and is zero cholesterol. I will probably find out it has some other vice but for now, it's my go-to.
Popcorn has a history.
Incas in Peru were popping corn in 4700 BCE! And Mexicans were at it as early as 3600 BCE. A commercial popcorn popper was invented in 1885 and debuted at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Popcorn was already known but didn't take off until the Depression (It was cheap and filling) and really took off during WWll when sugar rationing made candy scarce.
Any kind of dry corn kernel will pop but there is one type, Zea mays everta, that is specifically grown for popcorn. It has a hard, steam-proof shell that holds the steam inside until it reaches about 135 psi whereupon it explodes. The starch inside, by this time has polymerized and when it explodes, it becomes a foam which quickly sets.
Most of the commercial popcorn is grown in Nebraska and Indiana but Texas is moving up in the market. It is the official snack food of Illinois.