There Is No Middle Ground in the Popcorn Salad Debate

Food blogger Molly Yeh put mayo on popcorn in a Food Network video, and everyone noticed
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2021 5:00 PM CDT
There Is No Middle Ground in the Popcorn Salad Debate
Popcorn as a salad ingredient caught Food Network viewers off guard.   ( Mangal)

Molly Yeh made a popcorn salad with mayonnaise in a video on the Food Network Facebook page and absolutely nobody had a neutral feeling about it. The food blogger called it "one of those classic midwestern dishes that you would often find in a church basement pot luck," which startled quite a few people who have attended church basement potlucks. As commenter Cassie Marie put it, "Am I the only one who has lived their entire life in the mid-west and have never seen a popcorn salad?" Newsweek reports. Maybe stay-at-home orders and social-distancing guidelines have home cooks eager for new ideas. Maybe the long moment of the crouton has passed and American palates are ready for something new. Regardless, some people reacted to the idea of folding popcorn into a mayonnaise-based salad that also features carrots, snap peas, and celery with unflagging positivity.

Penny Hafner commented, "I know it sounds weird but it's so yummy. Ya have to try it just once," per Newsweek. It’s true that putting mayonnaise on food transforms it into a salad in the Midwest. And popcorn salad recipes predate Yeh’s video, reports Vice Munchies, which shares details on several, including one from the 1920s that involved topping a banana half with mayo and popcorn. Back in 1994, a community cookbook in North Dakota published a popcorn salad recipe, and other versions, one a century old, are out there. And then there are even older uses of the ingredient: The US Department of Agriculture’s website makes a brief but intriguing mention of Iroquois cooks popping corn and putting it in soup. Still, Yeh's recipe has currently earned only 2.5 stars. (More popcorn stories.)

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