Why does popcorn taste better if you eat it by the handful?

I enjoy popcorn quite a bit - all varieties - plain, with butter, cheesy-dill, caramel, etc. Why is it that it tastes so much better if you eat big handfulls of it? Other foods are not like this. Other foods taste great if you take normal-sized bites. But the flavour of popcorn is enhanced by stuffing 5 or 6 pieces of it in your mouth at once.

Why is that? My dog, who is currently enjoying a bag of double-hit with me, wants to know too.

But other foods don’t taste as good if you take teeny tiny bites. A handful is a normal sized bite for popcorn. A single piece doesn’t have enough flavor to taste.

Yeah, ike Doug said, it’s air-puffed so you need a lot more of it to get the flavor you would normally get from denser foods.

I disagree; popcorn tastes the best thrown up in the air and caught in the mouth.

Volume has been mentioned. The extra pieces force more stuff to touch a greater surface area. More tastebuds go “Aaaah”.

Heat: A single morsel taken from the bowl cools much quicker than a handful. The warmth helps the flavor to disperse once in the mouth. This includes the aroma, as well: more warm popped kernels adds to the whole experience.

The Chew* Factor: Your mouth hates it when it has to go thru all that motion and grinding for a little morsel of flavor. If it’s going to do all that work, it wants a larger amount of stuff to taste.

  • … if only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes.

I believe the cupping of a handful of popcorn traps air and particles from inside the bag, transporting more popcorn smell right below your nose.

I have to disagree. At the movies, I eat one piece at a time. Of course, it’s often cheese-flavored but not always.

I like that hypothesis. I’ll add this one: the starches in popcorn are broken down pretty quickly by salivary enzymes to turn them into sugars. A mouthful of sugar tastes better than the small bit of sugar you get from just one piece at a time because it hits more taste receptors on your tongue. A single piece of popcorn is much smaller in volume than a bite of most foods, once your teeth and saliva hit it.

I’m a single-kernel eater, myself. Lasts longer!

And I’m VERY possessive of MY popcorn. Keep your grubby hands OFF :dubious: :smiley: