Monday, 30 March 2009

The Big Idea

So when you run out of ideas and inspiration, find it in others! That is what I discovered last week. My big project now is to ask everyone I meet one simple question, “Ask me any random question - as random as your imagination can muster?" And I will find equally random answers!

When I got this idea I turned to the first person I saw. A person who was sat in front of the telly, sizing up a lone popcorn meditatively. It was my sister, watching something so boring that she found a popcorn a lot more interesting.

Yes, I did feel a little guilty pulling her out of her meditative frame of mind but sometimes things just have to be asked. Full stop. It had to be done. So I asked.

And she asked back. This post is therefore dedicated to the very first random question I got asked. As predictable as the question is likely to sound now that I have set the scene, I'll comply with tradition and start off with writing out the random question. Here it goes:

"If the corn field became too hot, would all the corn just pop pop pop?"

I asked my brother the pop-corn question to see how he would reply:

Me: If the corn field became too hot, would all the corn just pop pop pop?

Brother: Well, it has to be dry corn, so.....

Me: So it wouldn't?

Brother: No

It ended there.....Well, now I'd like to expand on that...

If it did pop on its own in the heat, can you imagine the horror of simultaneous popping that Native Americans, who first discovered that hot corn popped, felt was unleashed on them? So much so, that they came to the conclusion, as people do, that it was angry gods popping out of corn kernels. Excuse the blasphemy, and if you can't excuse it, target a certain Red Indian called the-one-that-unleashed-gods-fury or something!! Not me.

In case you are interested, the particular kind of corn that pops is unfortunately not named after the Native American, it has a predictably boring name - Zeya Mays Averta - not surprising!

Anyway, on to the main point - would it pop if it got hot?

Ok, here's the science. See, inside each little kernel, there's a little teeny weenie bit of water and when it gets hot enough, the water boils and turns into steam which is highly pressurised and has nowhere to go. The starch in the kernel expands and expands and expands to the point where the kernel finally explodes - voila, the corn pops. This can only happen at the boiling point of water that is 100 Celsius or 212 Fahrenheit.

Logically speaking then, if you went to a really hot place, with a good supply of water and shade for yourself, and planted in the corn seeds and stuck around for a few months, then at the end of it, if you were lucky (ignoring the nasty sun burn and tan), your hard work would pay off and the corn would begin to pop by itself.

And I am not making this up! Because it has happened before. In a legend.

There is a legend in Nebraska that in the "Year of the Striped Weather", at some point in the late 1800s, the sun was scorching hot, so so hot that the all the corn began to pop in the fields.

Ok, I would stop here, but I think it’s only fair that you hear the rest of the legend. It might sound unbelievable so the condition on which I'm pasting the below is that you MUST USE YOUR IMAGINATION!

Popcorn Balls
There is a Nebraska legend that the popcorn ball is actually a product of the Nebraska weather. It supposedly invented itself during the "Year of the Striped Weather" which came between the years of the "Big Rain" and the "Great Heat" where the weather was both hot and rainy. There was a mile strip of scorching sunshine and then a mile strip of rain. On one farm, there were both kinds of weather. The sun shone on this cornfield until the corn began to pop, while the rain washed the syrup out of the sugarcane. The field was on a hill and the cornfield was in a valley. They syrup flowed down the hill into the popped corn and rolled it into great balls with some of them hundreds of feet high and looked like big tennis balls at a distance. You never see any of them now because the grasshoppers ate them all up in one day on July 21, 1874.
- from American Eats, by Nelson Algren, published by University of Iowa Prewss, 1992

So finally, I think we can come to the conclusion that unless, technology advanced to the stage that we'd be farming on the sun, due to there being no place on the Earth as a result of population explosion which is not in the least unlikely, the corn wont pop in a hot field. Sorry Insha.


ps: if you want to ask me a random question - ask away!!


siras said...

How cool it would be if the whole corn field, did actually start going pop pop pop! =D

Sana said...

yeah.....i'd rathe watch from outside the corn field though.....otherwise i'd be bruised everywhere from being popped at lol

Afshan Ali said...

That was a fun read!

L u D a said...

Random Question

Why is the letter 'W' called double you and not double 'V'?

drama queen said...

oooh oooh ooh i've got know they say..."....thats the best thing since sliced bread..."

what was the best thing before sliced break was invented?

Sana said...

lol, thanks for those incredibly random questions....

im already working on LUDA's and Drama Queen, you'll get your next! Btw i absolutely love drama too - makes life exciting!!


Syeda said...

hahaha! :D