Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls

But add salt, no matter what this recipe says.

We discussed the history of popcorn balls in the post from University Heights, Ohio, and we looked at candy-coated popcorns more generally in the post for oven caramel corn in Joplin, Missouri.

From a notebook originally from somewhere in the general area of Sterling, Colorado from the 1930s.

This recipe is from the 21st page of the notebook; here’s the page in full (click to enlarge).

Click to expand a longer explanation...
In the words of the seller:
I acquired this book from the great granddaughter of the woman who wrote this book back in a small Nebraska town in the 30’s. She belonged to that generation of rural housewives who worked tirelessly to make ends meet and “keep body and soul together” for their families working the farms.

Later addendum:

[A]fter a conversation I had with a friend’s sister who used to live in North Eastern Colorado, given the type of recipes listed we decided it might be from a small town there, i.e., Sterling or Fort Morgan. Also North Platte or Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Even Cheyenne, Wyoming. If you Google a map of Sterling, Colorado and pull back, you will see all these little towns in that tri-state area.

Old Fashioned Pop Corn

2 qts. unsalted popcorn
2 Tbsp. butter or substitute

Boil until it forms a ball in cold water:

  • 1 c. Karo white
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 tsp. vinegar

Remove from heat quickly. Add butter and blend slowly. Pour over popcorn and form into balls.


Yesterdish suggestion: Seriously, sprinkle kosher salt on the finished product. Seriously, you guys.

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