If the Lost Colony had used what was right under their feet (piles and piles of sand) and the gifts of maize from their new friends Wanchese and Manteo, history might have changed. By drying out the cobs just the right way (yes, it's a little humid in these parts) and stirring the kernels in a mound of piping hot sand, they, too could have had the new world's favorite snack-a big ole sack of popcorn. But somewhere along the way we did lose them, to hunger or rivalry or raging seas, we will never know. Fortunately some of the old world ways weren't lost as easily.
Popcorn has an interesting history rooted in ancient times. The Aztecs of Mexico used popcorn in many of their ceremonies and as blessing to the gods. Kernels at least a thousand years old have been discovered in tombs of Peru, and the oldest popped kernel was found in a cave in southwest Utah. In 1948 the oldest ear of corn was uncovered in a bat cave in Mexico. Carbon dating revealed the cob to be 5,600 years old, and a few of its kernels popped when added to hot oil. American Indians used popcorn as a form of sustenance and a base for beer and soups. They also believed that spirits lived peacefully inside the popcorn kernel and when angered their houses would erupt in a puff of steam.
Thankfully you won't find popcorn ceremonies, angry spirits or ancient cobs at either of the Outer Banks Popcorn Shoppe locations in Duck and Corolla. You will find fresh-popped corn made daily in 18 different flavors, all of which you can sample. Owners Ted and Lindsey Jagucki aren't simply relying on the fact that annually Americans eat enough popcorn to fill the Empire State Building 18 times. They have their own family history on their side in the form of a secret recipe for caramels. The Popcorn Shoppes' original Caramel Corn has become the most popular Outer Banks flavor known as Corolla Crunch, which mixes in almonds and cashews for an added bite. Drizzle takes it to the next level for lovers of the salty and sweet when hand-drizzled milk and white chocolate is poured over the caramel corn. I know what you're thinking...and it is irresistible. If it's a savory snack you're in the mood for, pop in to the shop to try the jalapeno cheddar or parmesan garlic.
The Outer Banks Popcorn Shoppe features a new flavor monthly available only online. Past flavors include birthday cake (with sprinkles!), banana pudding, Key lime pie, pumpkin spice and honey mustard. Their online store is open year round, and bags or tins can be filled with your favorite flavor and shipped worldwide for convenient gift giving or to bring the memories home long after your trip to the Outer Banks has ended. This year the Shoppe has created a limited edition Outer Banks popcorn tin designed and painted by local artist Katy Caroline Gullet. These one- or three-gallon tins are only found at their storefronts and can be filled with any flavor your taste buds might crave.
Unlike ancient popcorn purveyors, Ted and Lindsay promise that the only sand you'll find close to their delicious snack will be on the beautiful beaches of the Outer Banks and not in one of their mouth-watering flavors.
Outer Banks Popcorn Shoppe
TimBuck II Shopping Center
799 Sunset Blvd, Corolla
Scarborough Lane Shoppes
1171-D5 Duck Road, Duck