Friday, January 20, 2012

Theory Thursday: Popcorn

Since National Nothing Day on Monday, Jake and Alyssa have asked every day, "What national day is today?" They've also told me over and over again just how much fun they had. They were so excited when I told them that January 19 is National Popcorn Day. And what do yo do on National Popcorn Day? Eat popcorn, of course! The more butter, the better! I didn't always have that opinion though. For years, I loved the smell of popcorn; and the smell made me love the thought of eating the popcorn; but I didn't love the actual eating of said popcorn. It always upset my stomach. Always. It was a quick, convenient, and cheap snack to toss a bag in the microwave. It wasn't worth it for me afterwards though. Usually, if Leighton wanted popcorn, I'd just eat something else.

Then one day, we bought something that would change my popcorn eating days forever. While perusing Target, we found a microwave popcorn bowl. You simply pour the unpopped kernels in the bowl, put the lid on, and microwave. We decided to try it since it would produce much healthier popcorn than that which comes in the convenient little bags. Little did we know, that it would solve all my popcorn-induced tummy problems. I can eat it now and enjoy it! We do season ours with a buttery oil and butter-flavored sprinkle, but really, there are so many options for how to prepare it. Half the fun is trying to figure out which one best suits your taste buds! The popcorn is actually cheaper and healthier and just as convenient. Needless to say, we've never reverted back to those unthinkable bags.

Now that my impromptu commercial is over, on to the experiment!

Wednesday night I prepared our materials. I counted out 3 sets of 25 kernels. One set was left on the counter, one was placed in the refrigerator, and the last one was put in the freezer for nearly 24 hours. I asked the kiddos what they thought was going to happen when we popped them. Would the varying temperatures effect the final product? Jake said, "I think the ones in the fridge are going to be light blue when they pop cause it's just a little bit cold. And the ones in the freezer are going to be dark blue cause they're really cold!" Now wouldn't that be cool??? Let's see if he was right . . . 

Each set of kernels was prepared the same way. We poured them in the bowl and placed the lid on top.

Then we microwaved it for exactly 1 minute.

 And watched intently each time.

When one batch was done, we poured the popped corn into a separate bowl. Then we started the process over again.

Once all 3 sets were popped, Jake and Alyssa found the unpopped kernels in each bowl and placed them in other bowls.

Unfortunately, we got no blue popcorn. Bummer! We did discover that the room-temperature kernels had 2 unpopped; the refrigerator ones had 1 unpopped; and the freezer ones had 7 unpopped kernels.

I expected the refrigerator ones to have more unpopped than the room-temp, but it might not have happened for many different reasons. Some kernels are just duds. I suppose to be a true test, we could try the experiment again or use a larger number of kernels for each group. 

Either way, we discussed the results by relating it to being cold ourselves. I explained that when they're playing in the house, they're already warm, so it doesn't take much to get even warmer. But when they're walking from the warm van, through the cold outside, and back into the warm house, it takes a few minutes to get warm again. But, when they're outside playing in the nonexistent snow bitter cold, it takes a long time for them to get warm! It's just like the popcorn. The room-temperature kernels had a greater chance of popping than the ones that had been frozen since they started out warmer before being placed in the hot microwave.

But when all was said and done, all they really wanted to get to the most fun part about the whole process . . .

Eating the popcorn!

Happy National Popcorn Day!

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