Wednesday, May 5, 2010

P is for Popcorn @ Life is Good

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!

27 comments:

Sarah said...

Popcorn is a typical late afternoon snack around here. Can't be beat!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Cousin Willie’s Microwave Popcorn is the best. I got to try some last fall.

Brian Miller said...

love me some popcorn...one of the kids i work with did his science fait project on the most efficient popcorn...popped kernels vs. unpopped at the end of the cycle...

Brenda said...

My daughters and I love popcorn. We have one of those pans that has the crank on top you turn to keep the popcorn from sticking. That's hubs job. I used an old Revereware pan when my kids were growing up and did the shake as you pop technique.

Linda said...

I love popcorn! I do microwave cause it's easy but my DH makes it on the stove the old fashioned way and it is THE BEST! Great P post!

Terra said...

Popcorn was a staple in our house. We did the hot air gig, WITH butter and SALT though my mom went through one of those butter substitute kicks once (NASTY) I still use a hot air popper and refuse to buy the Microwave kind. Loved your walk down popcorn lane!

GardenofDaisies said...

I grew up making popcorn in a regular pot with a lid, shaking it around over the burner with a bit of oil. Best popcorn!

Christy said...

my husband says he only goes to the movies so he can eat popcorn! i did a post on jiffy pop some time back...it tastes terrible...but looks so fun! I like it the old fashioned way too...no butter, but lots of salt...now i am craving it...but i think it is too late in the evening now. there is always breakfast!

Short and Sweet said...

I, too, really enjoy popcorn. I microwave mine and add flavors before I eat the popcorn. Mmmmmm so good.

Aging Mommy said...

Being English I did not grow up with popcorn - you can buy it over there now but not when I was a child. Back then it was Walkers Crisps that everyone loved, salt and vinegar being my favorite. I still don't really like popcorn either, unless it is the toffee coated kind!

Viki said...

50 pound bag OMG, you do eat a lot of popcorn LOL. That's good though because it is supposed to be healthy without butter.

LemonyRenee' said...

I LOVE popcorn, too. Something happened to me when I was pregnant, though, that made me detest microwave popcorn. We only make it the old-fashioned way, too. I use canola oil, though. Never tried peanut oil, but now you have me curious. I also add a bit of cayenne pepper, cumin, and sometimes dried oregano if I'm feeling saucy! I love popcorn and really try to limit myself to that for a nighttime snack, too. My motto: If you are too lazy to make popcorn the right way (aka NOT microwave), than you're not really that hungry. ;)

Great post!

AND *** thanks for the writing prompt. I did it today and linked back here when I acknowledged your prompt. Thanks so much!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I used to make popcorn for the kids I babysat every afternoon in the old fashioned way with oil in a pan. I made it for my kids later (sorry, with butter, I was an indulgent mom) and now I make it for myself (still with butter, oh well!)

jfb57 said...

We only get to eat popcorn when we go to the cinema! Such a shame because it's scrummy!

laterg8r said...

i love that you eat popcorn everyday :D

mrs. c said...

I also make popcorn in a pot with oil and NO BUTTER! Hubby got this great Amish popcorn and it has the best flavor! I use canola oil but will tr the peanut oil. Thanks for sharing this love of popcorn with us!

MrsJenB said...

Mmm popcorn! I can't say I eat it as much as you do but I do love it. I remember my mom making the Jiffy Pop when I was little - it was so exciting! Hubby believes that he is the king of microwave popcorn - he always pops to perfection! But now I reeeeally wanna try it on the stove!

jeff campbell said...

Big fan of oil in the pan Popcorn. I guess you could say we are Popcorn snobs. We especially like blue or rainbow from the Amish farms in Ohio. They do not pop big in size, but have HUGE flavor...Great post...Peace and blessings

Amanda said...

I'm giggling. Soooo, the real question is, what kind of wine do you serve with that?

Christy said...

On the stove is the best, I use coconut oil - and butter too, with lots of salt. I don't think butter is bad for us - or the coconut oil for that matter. I only like microwave popcorn if it is a touch overdone. Burnt a bit. Weird - I know!

VKT said...

Peanut oil eh? I am headed to Sam's tomorrow then. I don't like microwave popcorn much either. Great p post for alphabet Thursday!!!!

Amanda said...

Tina, we were both sold on the beach house the minute we peaked in the window (and then followed the path to the beach), but it's guaranteed to be a money pit....

Jenny said...

What a wonderful post for Alphabe-Thursday's Letter "P"!

I remember popcorn like this. In the big kettle. With the perfect timing so there would be no un-popped kernels left.

That salty crunch.

So different then microwave. So much better then air-popped!

I love that you have your Priorities straight when you travel and pack the popcorn before you back the pillows!

A+

Pondside said...

I'm a night time popcorn eater too. Have you ever put parmesan cheese on it? How about taco seasoning (a teeny little bit)? Best of all is just salt and butter. I, too, feel faintly virtuous when I eat popcorn as all about me are eating chips or cheese and crackers.

Steph said...

We make popcorn the extinct way too, and love it. I remember Jiffy Pop (fun) and air popped (bleh). And we have coated our popcorn in many different ways (including a peanut butter sweet flavor), but I think salt is still my favorite. Fun post.

Jo said...

the microwave stuff is so totally icky, thanks for bringing back memories of my dad making popcorn on the stove in a big heavy pot ... and it was always perfect and always yummy and the sound of the kernals popping was so much fun to listen too.

mbkatc230 said...

Thanks for bringing back some fond memories! I love popcorn, and nothing beats making it the "old fashioned" way. I have been using microwave popcorn for years, and you are right, it just isn't the same. I'm going to have to get back to making it on the stove again. Kathy