Mmm… Food

Getting Back to Basics
February 1, 2009, 4:48 pm
Filed under: Cooking, Foods

This afternoon I made a snack of popcorn. Organically grown. On the cob. Popped on the stove in a large pan in some canola oil. Topped with olive oil and salt. Simple. Tasty. Old old school. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have popcorn not from a bag. A microwave bag that is. They don’t use a microwave to make you popcorn at the movies, but when is the last time you made popcorn at home and didn’t use a microwave?


In a game of free word association, I’d be willing to bet that when given the word “Popcorn” there would be more than a couple people to say “Microwave”. If you use the on-line service (I used to swear by this service and if it weren’t for the foodshare and the non-single life I now lead I probably still would) and search for “popcorn” you are first made to select between

“Caramel Corn”
“Popcorn Kernels”
“Popcorn Snacks”
“Popping Corn Microwave”

Once you establish that you aren’t looking for pre-popped popcorn or popcorn balls with syrup you can either go with “Popcorn Kernels” – with a whopping 4 choices of kernels, or “Popping Corn Microwave” of which there are 29 different choices!!! I was initially surprised that there were even 4 choices for Popcorn Kernels. Of course one of these choices is the “Jiffy Pop” which is in a different class of popcorn still, but maybe people actually still use this kind?? The microwave version is just so much more prolific! But 29 choices of Microwave popcorn this seems like overkill. “Butter” “Buttery Kettle Corn” “Light Butter” “Natural” “94% Fat Free Unsalted” “100 Calorie Snack Size” “Homestyle Butter” “Movie Theater Butter” “Movie Extra Butter” It’s Popcorn for gods sake. This seems ridiculous. Which is perhaps why I got so excited about the popcorn from the food share.

First the popcorn cobs are small. The largest ones were maybe 5 inches long. And the actual kernels are much smaller than anything you’ll find in the grocery store. img_16701 Just 2 cobs yielded about a bags worth of microwave popcorn. Not bad. A quick read on Wikipedia, lets you know that the popcorn industry considers two factors when producing desirable popcorn. 1. What percentage of kernels pop and 2. How large the popped kernels expand. You want both points to be large!! Big fluffy popcorn and lots of it!!. While the popcorn I made was smaller than something you might get in a bag, only 4 or 5 kernels from the 2 cobs I prepared were left at the bottom when I was done. Not bad by my estimation. And all I had to do was rub the kernels off the cob, add them to a little canola oil, apply heat, shake and wala!!! img_1676 (I know that wala! is not really a word, but I do use it a lot. Perhaps I will see if there is a better slang spelling 🙂

But perhaps the best thing about this whole thing is not even the finished product, but the wonderful visual and auditory show that gets put on in front of you. Sure everyone who makes microwave popcorn knows what it sounds like, but when is the last time you saw a kernel burst open and leave a fluffy piece of popcorn in it’s wake. The first few spring to life and look like aliens have landed in the your pot on the stovetop. Out of no-where they spring to life, slowly at first and then it a burst of fury. So you have to quickly make sure the lid is on, or you will have a kitchen full of popcorn. Those suckers burst with a bang!! Lucky thing we have a dog to pick up the free fliers 🙂 So, if you have the chance to get some real popcorn off the cob. Try it, it brightened my whole afternoon, and gave me a tasty snack 🙂


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