Somewhere in the backwoods of Indiana is a little town called Popcorn. The main roads are all named after popcorn, and the town church is called Popcorn Christian Church. It's a town lost to time, with a dieing population. There's no census data for it and there's not even a McDonald's. According to a dubious Facebook page, only 42 people live there. The town's post office and general store no longer exist, closed decades ago.
Corn has always been more than a food for the kind folk in Popcorn. It's a way of life. Local legend has it that the town got its name when some visitors from Vincennes, a sleepy farming community in southern Indiana, insultingly said that the town's corn crops were more like popcorn and nothing like the robust husks of corn they grew down in Vincennes. Rather than taking the insult hard, the townspeople found the insult charming and made Popcorn the town's official name. This probably happened sometime in the 1800s, but to find the true date (and the town's original name) you'd have to drive to Popcorn, Indiana yourself, because the rest of their history isn't in any books or on the internet.
Flash forward to 2002. Warren Struhl and Richard Demb wanted to start a gourmet popcorn chain, and they wanted their brand to have an authentic rustic feel, At some point in their search for a brand name, Struhl and Demb found themselves chatting with Dale Humphrey on his farm Popcorn, Indiana. He told the two the story of his town, and as they say, the rest was history. Struhl and Demb opened a Popcorn, Indiana store in New York City, selling freshly made kettle corn to hungry customers.
Within just a few years, bags of Popcorn, Indiana popcorn were "popping up" in supermarkets and drug stores in multiple states. Isiah Thomas, a former Hall of Fame NBA player and a popcorn connoisseur, invested in the company, prompting it be renamed Dale & Thomas Popcorn in honor of their new investor and the recently deceased Dale Humphrey. Before he invested in the Popcorn, Indiana, Thomas was best known in the business world for bankrupting the Canadian Basketball Association. To date, Dale & Thomas Popcorn seems to have been Thomas' one wisest investments, as the company continues to expand, opening locations in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Despite the name change, the company's popcorn is still sold in stores under the Popcorn, Indiana moniker. In fact, just last night I ate a bag of their cheddar popcorn, which was made using aged Wisconsin cheddar. As far as bagged popcorn goes, it was the best I've ever eaten. The complex flavors of the rich cheddar cheese melted in my mouth, and the popcorn itself still tasted fresh. Of course, it could never beat a good homemade popcorn, but it's an excellent snack option to have when you're on the go.
Now, when I really want some amazing popcorn, I go to the Dale & Thomas Popcorn store that's about a 10 minute drive from my house. They serve up over 20 varieties of fresh popcorn, and each one is delicious. My personal favorite is Country Smokehouse Cheddar. Adding smoky undertones to cheddar should be illegal, because the result is better than most street drugs.
Hi, I'm Mullakamakalaka, and I'm a popcorn addict.
Sources: http://www.popcornindiana.com/popcorn-history.asp, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dale_and_Thomas_Popcorn, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2203543432&v=wall