19 January

National Popcorn Day

The Seventh Art

So we are drinking...

The Seventh Art

Light and fluffy with endless options for toppings and flavourings, popcorn is the classic cinema snack and today is all about celebrating it.

Popcorn is naturally a very healthy snack; however, it can quickly become a very unhealthy one depending on which toppings you opt for. The healthier options include things like herbs and spices, or a sprinkling of salt, whilst the more indulgent options include chocolate coatings, caramel, and butter. Whatever you go for, they're all equally delicious and there's a topping to suit everyone.

The sweetcorn we enjoy with our dinners is not the same variety of maize used for popcorn so if you try to make popcorn with a corn on the cob, expect to be disappointed. Zea mays everta is the variety you'll have the most success with. They have small ears and the kernels burst open when dry heat is used on them.

The practice of making popcorn goes back thousands of years. Popped kernels were discovered in 1948 in bat caves in west central New Mexico and after some carbon dating were found to be over 5,000 years old. There is also other evidence to suggest popcorn was used by Aztecs in south and central America as a food source and as embellishment for clothing and by Native Americans in north America.

Once settlers arrived in America and discovered this new way to eat corn its popularity grew. It was during the industrial revolution that the first commercial popcorn machine was created by Charles Cretors in 1885 which found its way into movie theaters. Around 100 hundred years later came the microwave bag for popping your own corn at home which caused popcorn consumption to skyrocket.

To celebrate, you could make popcorn garland decorations, head to the cinema, or better still, host your own movie night where you get to enjoy your favourite film, freshly popped popcorn, and a delicious popcorn-based cocktail such as the The Seventh Art.

It's also Janis Joplin's birthday

One of the first rock stars to form the 27 Club, Janis Joplin died aged only 27 soon after Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix. Later entrants include Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and, most recently, Amy Winehouse.

Hard-living, hard-partying, tormented, and a painter as well as a singer, Joplin was born in Texas on this day in 1943.

Joplin's performances at Monterey, Woodstock and aboard the Festival Express train made her a counter-culture icon, while her take on Piece of My Heart still makes the lists of all-time greatest rock songs. She was immortalised by her lover Leonard Cohen who wrote Chelsea Hotel for her.

Janis was a Southern Comfort lover and would often swig from a bottle live on stage. So we are toasting her with a Southern Tea , a drink that combines that sweet Southern liqueur with Earl Grey tea. As a girl from the South, we think she might have liked a nice cooling Southern Mint Cobbler which adds peach, lemon juice and mint to her preferred spirit.

It's also the day John Wilkes became an outlaw

On this day in 1764, the journalist, politician, freedom campaigner, libertine and Hell Club member John Wilkes became an outlaw in the UK. His crime? Publishing a pornographic poem, which was also arguably libellous, against the deliciously named courtesan Fanny Murray, mistress of the Earl of Sandwich - the chap who supposedly created the sandwich.

The Julian Assange of his era, Wilkes skipped to Paris ahead of his trial, which was conducted in his absence, then ran out of money, and had to return to London and jail.

He would recover impressively. Wilkes became Lord Mayor of London, was popular enough in America to have two counties and several streets named after him, and remained a campaigner for religious and social freedom until he died, having fathered at least five illegitimate children.

John Wilkes, we salute you! And we're toasting your originality with a Scofflaw, created at Harry's American Bar to honour drinkers who breached Prohibition.

It's also Edgar Allan Poe's birthday

"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary" ...so starts one of Poe's cheerier poems, The Raven. Abandoned by his father, orphaned at a young age when his mother died, then widowed when his wife (who was also his 15-year-old cousin) died of tuberculosis, it was no wonder that this Massachusetts-born poet was so gloomy.

His poetry lives on though, and is loved and respected worldwide. Each year (with 2010 being the first exception since 1949) an anonymous figure called the Poe Toaster visits the poet's grave to honour him with a glass of cognac and lay three red roses on his grave. Why not pay your respects from where you are though, and enjoy your cognac in the style of a Three Hundred Poems cocktail while raising a glass to the American poet.

Join the Discussion

... comment(s) for National Popcorn Day

You must log in to your account to make a comment.

Report comment

You must be logged in to upvote or downvote a comment

Click here to login
Welcome to Difford's Guide

All editorial and photography on this website is copyright protected

© Odd Firm of Sin 2024