“Jiffy Pop, Jiffy Pop, the magic treat! As much fun to make as it is to eat!”
We kids of the 60’s were serenaded by that chorus several times each Saturday morning as we watched our favorite cartoon shows. We were shown images of happy kids popping Jiffy Pop on a stove with that amazing bubble of aluminum foil rising expectantly until, finally, it was torn open and the most delicious looking popcorn the world has ever seen was revealed.
The next time we would accompany our mothers to the grocery store, we would beg for Jiffy Pop.
My frugal, practical father wouldn’t allow it. He would point out that you could get a whole bag of popcorn for less than one single Jiffy Pop. But, mom would relent occasionally, and I would be allowed to create my own magical aluminum bubble full of popcorn.
Jiffy Pop was invented in 1958 by Fred Mennen. For five years he worked to create a self-contained system which would be perfect for popping a special yellow hulless hybrid corn which grew near his home in La Porte, Indiana. The next year, he began marketing it, and by 1960 it was being sold nationally.
TV commercials helped its popularity spread like wildfire, as those millions of Boomer kids begged their parents to buy them the popcorn that’s as much fun to make as it is to eat.
Jiffy Pop is still around, but its sales are way down from its peak years. It’s manufactured by ConAgra foods, along with a whole slew of other products.
Here’s hoping it’s not phased out by the megacorporation that produces it. We’ve lost enough connections with our childhoods. In the meantime, the next time you’re in the supermarket, you might pick up a Jiffy Pop and see if it takes you back about forty or so years.