It’s no surprise that Americans rank Thanksgiving among one of their favorite holidays. Steeped in history and tradition, Thanksgiving marks a time to bring your closest family and friends together and celebrate with a bountiful feast.
And while most people relish the traditional Thanksgiving meal, they also enjoy a guilt-free day of grazing on tasty treats leading up to the main event. When hosting a large crowd for Thanksgiving or any occasion, it’s always a good idea to serve a variety of snacks to please the many palates in the room. That’s why popcorn is a great option.
Plain or buttered, sweetened or spiced, popcorn can be flavored or even combined with other foods like nuts, fruit or cheese to create a delicious and nutritious snack. As a whole grain food, popcorn is a quality carbohydrate source that is not only low in calories, but also a good source of fiber. It’s an ideal in-between meals snack because it satisfies, but doesn’t spoil your appetite.
To satisfy your crowd this holiday season, try these simple popcorn ideas. For kids, mix popcorn with toasted pumpkin seeds, raisins and other diced dried fruit and watch how fast the bowl empties. A little butter, brown sugar and cinnamon will satisfy sweet lovers. For those who like a little spice in their lives, try this delicious Spicy Cajun Popcorn and Nut mix – it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Spicy Cajun Popcorn and Nuts
Yield: 9 servings
8 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup toasted, coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup peanuts
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1/4 teaspoon each: dry mustard, garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Place popcorn and nuts in large bowl.
In small microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter on HIGH until melted, about 30 seconds. Stir in dry mustard, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
Drizzle over popcorn mixture and toss well.
The options for mixing and flavoring popcorn are truly endless. And you can make these recipes for popcorn ahead of time leaving you with one less thing to worry about on the big day. Just keep it fresh in an air-tight container or bag, then pop it open, pour it into a bowl and watch the crowd gobble it up.
And remember, popcorn is also steeped in history and facts. Try to stump “know-it-all” Aunt Betsy with some popcorn trivia while you’re munching away:
- The oldest ears of popcorn ever were dis- covered in the Bat Caves of west central New Mexico in 1948 and 1950. They turned out to be about 4,000 years old.
- There are six different types of corn: sweet, dent, flour, flint, pod and popcorn. Only popcorn pops.
- What makes popcorn pop? Water. As the kernel is heated, the water inside the kernel turns into steam. The pressure builds until the kernel finally explodes and the insides turn out.
- The average American consumes 54 quarts of popcorn a year!
For more fun facts about popcorn and other great-tasting popcorn recipes, visit www.popcorn.org