If you think about the beginnings of popcorn, you may imagine Victorian or Edwardian gents and ladies strolling around a summertime fair, snacking on red-and-white-striped boxes of popcorn purchased from a streetcar vendor similar to the one that first sold Cracker Jack. However, humanity’s love of popcorn goes back further than that. The earliest form of popcorn appeared in ancient Peru.
According to History, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found evidence at prehistoric settlement sites that Peruvians were snacking on popcorn. These researchers now believe that people were eating popped corn kernels nearly 7,000 years ago. Before the study was released, it was believed that popcorn arrived on the culinary scene about 1,000 years later.
However, ancient Peruvians didn’t have access to today’s handy microwaves. Instead, they likely roasted the corn cobs above an open flame or coals. They did eventually improve the process, though, developing a rudimentary popcorn popper around the year 300 AD.