I was going to do a post on popcorn this week. I just hadn't gotten around to it.
Sunday night I popped my own popcorn for the first time in, I don't know, years. My recipe is simple: You take a big skillet with a tight-fitting lid, cover the bottom with one layer of popcorn (I used organic for the first time) and shake it constantly over medium high heat until it's so popped it almost pushes the lid up.
In spite of what the Owl Man says below, this works better than using oil because then the popcorn absorbs the enormous amounts of real butter I pour on it better. I had a fleeting moment of considering melting the butter in the microwave, thought better of it, and heated a large bowl in the microwave instead. Then I put the popcorn in it, melted the butter in the skillet (I'm embarrassed to tell you how much), poured it over the still-hot popcorn and tossed it with salad implements. Then I ground salt and black pepper over it and tossed it again.
Anyway, Owl Meat scooped me, so I won't be able to do that post now. Here's his excellent Funtastic Thursday. EL
"I have 1341 Dining@Large posts in my reader and not one mention of popcorn. Is that possible? I think popcorn is something we take for granted and is a particularly American passion. When I lived in Madrid, the movie theaters didn't have popcorn. I blame Franco. Today I would like to salute the humble American kernel -- the only food that we want to explode.
Check out this video of popcorn popping in slow motion. It is beautiful and a little suggestive. It's like vegan erotica. (It's just popcorn; you can watch it at work.)
For me the only great popcorn is at the Charles Theatre. It's not just a snack, it's an event. My secret pleasure is snarfing up a few morsels with my tongue like a lizard before I get to my seat.
In a graduate school class on Petrarch, the Italian professor used to veer off topic and tell stories about life in Italy. He stunned the table of earnest learners by reminiscing gleefully about something he loved as a child: Exploding mice on a stick. Roasting mice over a fire. Ka-pow! People seemed stunned or nauseated and then I laughed. He was saying "maize" with a heavy Italian accent. Exploding mice indeed.
Paramour Bourbon Girl and I saw our first movie together recently and I had anxiety about the popcorn situation. What if we were not popcorn compatible? It happens. We were, but some people are impossible to share popcorn with. You know what I mean.
There are tons of movies with popcorn in the title, including ten simply named "Popcorn." My favorite is a horror movie from 1991 with the tagline: Buy a bag, go home in a box.
Apparently "Popcorn" was a hit song in the 1970s. Dig on this: "Popcorn" by Hot Butter (Techno Remix).
Since cell phones use microwaves, have you ever wondered: Can cell phones pop popcorn?
Hooray for the fiftieth anniversary of the invention of Jiffy Pop: In 1958, after five years of experiments, Fred Mennen completed the first Jiffy Pop pop-in-pan container. He began marketing his product, featuring natural and butter flavors, in 1959, and a year later it was distributed to every major U.S. market. The butter flavor was made even better in 2002.
Even better? Is that possible? I wonder what the ingredients are ...
INGREDIENTS: Popcorn, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Natural Flavor, Color, TBHQ, Methyl Silicone.
Methyl silicone? Did Jiffy Pop get some "work" done in 2002? Hmmm ....
Popcorn crimes against humanity:
* Artificial "butter" flavor.
* Movies theaters that dump stale bags of pre-popped corn into their popcorn display bins. I'm talking to you, Senator Theatre. Oh, the humanity!
* Air poppers and air-popped popcorn. (That's you, Landmark Theatres.)
* People who tell you how bad it is for you. Shut up already. It's a whole grain snack with lots of fiber. At my popcorn Mecca, my beloved Charles Theatre, it is popped in canola oil and ... insouciance.
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)