I shared with you my love for grilled cheese. It's a deep, long-lasting relationship. But I absolutely can not live without popcorn.
My mom is really big on nutrition. Growing up, we didn't have chips or snacky foods like that in the house very often. (Although she sometimes bought Pringles, but would only dole out five as our portion. Five! That's like one bite!) However, she did let us have popcorn. This was back in the days before the microwave, so it was made the now almost extinct way, with oil, in a large, lidded pan. She would salt it, then do this amazing throw that rotated the kernels, and salt again. It was really a great trick, because she rarely dropped a kernel. And it was really, really good popcorn, but we wanted what we'd seen on TV: Jiffy Pop. She wouldn't buy that, because it was “just paying for the packaging”, as she was fond of saying. But Aunt Risky bought it for us. She came over every Thursday night to babysit while Mom and Dad played volleyball. She would bring the Jiffy Pop, and we were enthralled as that foil pouch poofed up. She even let us hold the handle, and shake it ourselves! Oh, the freedom she gave us. I never admitted to my mother, that though Jiffy Pop was fun, her popcorn was WAY tastier.
There came the day, though, that she stopped making popcorn on the stove. The air popper had come along, and that was much better for us. No oil! Also no taste. Salt doesn't stick to dry popcorn. And it's not like she'd ever put butter on it. That would defeat the nutritional advantage of air over oil. I suffered for many years, until the dawn of the microwave. Once again, I could have popcorn with taste!
I spent many years looking for the perfect microwave popcorn. There isn't one. So I thought, why not go back to the beginning? Back to the oil and the pan. (And the ten minutes, plus clean-up later vs. two minutes and throw away the bag.) It was worth it. I experimented, and I will now, for no fee, share my secrets. (And not to brag, but my friends say I make the best popcorn in the world.) (Name the movie I'm mimicking and I'll make you a batch right now.) Ok, without further ado:
Peanut oil. Seriously. It's expensive, but if you buy it at Sam's in the 5 gallon box meant for those who own restaurants, it's a bit more affordable. (If you want a quart at the grocery store, you'll pay about $6. 5 gallons for $40 is much, much better. I'll leave the math to you.) And then there's the popcorn itself. Also way expensive at the grocers, but in the (I'm NOT kidding here people) 50 pound bag, it's really affordable. If you think I'm crazy with these quantities, you obviously don't eat popcorn EVERY SINGLE DAY OF YOUR LIFE.
I mean that. If I go on vacation, I make sure that popcorn is available. If I'm in a hotel, I will stoop to microwave. After all, that's better than no popcorn. But if we're camping, then the oil and the kernels are the first things I pack. Condo? Then we can do the whole thing in style. Because my kids also love popcorn. But they keep wanting butter on it. And in the great tradition of my mother, I don't do that. Except when we're on vacation. Or it's a sleep-over. Or you're sick. My boys have gotten quite adept at inventing reason for needing butter. Sometimes I give in, but mostly I don't. I wouldn't want to disappoint my mother.
I know that you're not supposed to eat after dinner if you want to lose weight. Yeah, I heard you. But I think I'm still winning if The Engineer is making cream cheese concoction to go on crackers, and all I have is popcorn. At least that's my excuse. Because if you're at my house at 10:00 pm there will be popcorn. I think you'd like it.
This post has been brought to you by the letter P at the fab Ms. Jenny Matlock's alphabe-Thursday. Check out the other great P posts!