Making popcorn

The Historical Photographs of China project team were delighted to see in a recently digitised album a sequence of three photographs showing popcorn being made the Chinese way, c.1938:

Making popcorn, Peitaiho (Beidaihe), c.1938, Morrison collection, Mo04-121.

Making popcorn, Peitaiho (Beidaihe), c.1938, Morrison collection, Mo04-121.

 

Making popcorn, Peitaiho (Beidaihe), c.1938, Morrison collection, Mo04-122.

Making popcorn, Peitaiho (Beidaihe), c.1938, Morrison collection, Mo04-122.

Making popcorn, Peitaiho (Beidaihe), c.1938, Morrison collection, Mo04-123.

Making popcorn, Peitaiho (Beidaihe), c.1938, Morrison collection, Mo04-123.

When this blogger was in Shanghai in 2011, I photographed popcorn being made in the same way (see below) – a method believed to have developed during the Song dynasty (AD 960-1279), originally for puffing rice (source: Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popcorn), which describes the process as follows:  The un-popped corn kernels are poured into a large cast-iron canister — sometimes called a ‘popcorn hammer’ — which is then sealed with a heavy lid and slowly turned over a curbside fire in rotisserie fashion. When a pressure guage on the canister reaches a certain level, the canister is removed from the fire, a large canvas sack is put over the lid and the seal is released. With a huge boom, all of the popcorn explodes at once and is poured into the sack.  See also videos on YouTube, for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ta5jh9VglDw

I can vouch for the huge boom – the people waiting for their corn to pop kindly warned me about it, by miming ‘block your ears’!  Popcorn is recommended this Blue Monday – and indeed any day.

Making popcorn, Old City, Shanghai, May 2011.  Photograph by Jamie Carstairs.

Making popcorn, Old City, Shanghai, May 2011. Photograph by Jamie Carstairs.

Making popcorn, Old City, Shanghai, May 2011.  Photograph by Jamie Carstairs.

Making popcorn, Old City, Shanghai, May 2011. Photograph by Jamie Carstairs.

Making popcorn, Old City, Shanghai, May 2011.  Photograph by Jamie Carstairs.

Making popcorn, Old City, Shanghai, May 2011. Photograph by Jamie Carstairs.

This entry was posted in Elsewhere on the net, Photograph of the day and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *