16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Sunday, January 7, 1912: Walked to Sunday School this morning though the new fallen snow. I wore my old hat because I didn’t want to get snow on my new one. Miss Carrie was over this afternoon, and we had popcorn by the way of refreshments. By so doing I broke the third commandment for I was the one who did the popping.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Miss Carrie was Grandmas’ friend Carrie Stout. She lived on a nearby farm. I believe that the third commandment refers to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Today that is generally the fourth commandment, but I believe that some denominations number the commandments differently.
The popcorn that Grandma popped was raised on the Muffly farm. In May 1911 she wrote about planting popcorn. In the fall it would have been harvested and hung to dry. When the corn had just the right amount of moisture for popping, the family would have shelled it and stored it in a glass jar until they were ready to pop it.
Grandma probably popped the corn in a cast iron skillet. I bet that she sometimes “dressed it up” and made Caramel Corn.
Here’s a great hundred-year-old recipe for Caramel Corn that was in the 1912 Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Fannie Farmer. (It is called Sugared Popcorn in the book.)
Sugared Popcorn (Caramel Corn)
2 quarts popped corn
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup water
Put butter in saucepan, and when melted add sugar and water. Bring to boiling point, and let boil for sixteen minutes. Pour over corn, and stir until every kernel is well coated with sugar.
I salted the popped corn before mixing with the syrup. This recipe is a keeper. The Caramel Corn turned out perfectly.