Did you know that corn was never a wild plant that was domesticated for human consumption. It was the genius of the Indians of Central America that produced the ultimate corn stalk, which started as a wild grass, called Teosinte, which, after several thousand years of collection and cultivating the wild grass plants resulted in the corn plant we know now.The original kernels of Teosinte looked different from today's corn. The kernels were small and were not fused together as are modern ears of corn. After the successful development of corn plants, the Indians stopped their nomadic existence and settled down so as to be able to cultivate what they had developed.Corn became the key ingredient in the diets of the Mayan and Incan cultures of Latin America. Although corn has an incomplete protein because it lacks in some amino acids, the Indians a thousand years ago seemed to instinctively know that they needed legumes, or beans, to mix with the corn in order to make a complete protein. How they figured this out, we may never know, but perhaps it was by trial and error that finally enabled them to determine that they needed a complete protein for their health.Cultivation of corn spread both to the south and to the north Central America. It's not known exactly how corn came to be cultivated by the Indian Tribes of North America, but we do know that Columbus found corn here and took it to Europe with him. Indian legends have it that crows and blackbirds transported both corn and beans, and to appreciate these birds, the Indians would never try to kill these blackbirds. Other legends have it that corn was brought to earth by a person sent by the Great Spirit as a gift of thanks to the Indians.Corn was traditionally eaten raw. I could find no source for the development of popcorn, but one can guess that corn was accidentally dropped intoa fire at some point in history, producing the wonderful flavor of popcorn-without butter, we presume. There is an origin myth that holds that an Indian chief was angry when his tribal members complained about eating raw corn, so he threw a handful of corn into the fire. When it popped, and the Indians tried eating it, a whole industry was born.My first experiment with popcorn happened when I was twelve years old and my parents had gone out somewhere. Being the oldest in the family, I decide to make popcorn for my younger brothers and sister. I poured two full cups of popcorn into a small pot, uncovered, and turned on the fire under it. I went to watch television, and when I heard the corn popping I couldn't get it shut off in time. Corn was flying all over the kitchen--there was no place safe until it stopped popping. So we all ate the popcorn off the floor. This may sound worse than it was, because my mother kept the house so clean that friends would joke that one could eat off the floor, and we did.