Making Homemade Popcorn Balls During the Depression Era

Arizona woman recalls making homemade popcorn balls as treats during the depression era

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During the depression era we for a treat, we'd make homemade popcorn balls. For popcorn balls we'd put on canvas gloves and rotate an ear of popcorn in our hands 'til the kernels fell off. Then a fire would be built in the iron wood stove and the corn popper brought out. When the stove lids were hot, the square screen box of the popper was filled with kernels and with the long handle of the popper we pushed it back and forth on those hot lids ' til the box was filled with popped corn. This was emptied into a big bowl and we'd start over again' til we had enough for a few dozen popcorn balls.

The kitchen had tall cabinets reaching to the ceiling. At one end of the countertop a bin opened at an angle to hold a 100 lb. sack of flour. You can see that people baked a lot in those days. Mother baked eight loaves of bread every Saturday. Should we happen to run out of bread for Saturday lunch she would pinch off a piece of fresh dough, shape it into a patty and fry in a pan. These were positively delicious when cut open and spread with butter and jam. Today one might call them English muffins.

There were no restaurants or fast food eating places. One might have dinner at the hotel in town. Sometimes before or after a movie we would have an ice cream at the ice cream parlor.

Irene Duddy
Tucson, Arizona


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.