Popcorn Ponderings

I’m sitting here eating popcorn and enjoying a nice glass of French Pinot Noir. (oh ya, I’m that classy) This is one of my favorite suppers. I have a good breakfast and a good lunch, so I’m not all that hungry at suppertime. I make a good, nutritious meal for the child, but just want something to nibble on for myself in the evenings.

During the week, I’ll often be good and have a nice salad, but on weekends,  I’ll sometimes just have popcorn.

Or I’ll have a bit of cheese and olives with the popcorn. (or instead of the popcorn). Sometimes I’ll melt some cheddar right on the popcorn. Usually I just have plain air-popped popcorn with a bit of olive oil drizzled over it.

Who doesn’t love popcorn? It takes forever to eat. It’s satisfying without being stuffing. It’s got fiber and is pretty low fat depending on how much oil you drizzle over it.

I don’t like the microwave popcorn much, though. It has a lot of weird salt and pretend fat flavours all over it. The President’s Choice organic isn’t bad, but most of the other microwave popcorn is pretty bad. Also, you have to make a whole giant bag at once. And then you have to eat it all because it tastes like cardboard the next day. Squeaky cardboard.

I have an old air-popper. It does the job admirably.

Remember Jiffy-Pop? Do they still make that? As much fun to make as it is to eat. Indeed.  It almost always got burnt. But it sure was fun to make.

Remember when you had to make popcorn in your heaviest pot on the stove with a lot of oil? That was a real hit or miss venture. Kitchen fires. Ruined pots. Inedible popcorn. Good times.

There are entire stores devoted to popcorn now. You can buy popcorn in dozens of different flavours.

In some places in Europe, where popcorn at the movies is a fairly new thing, they put sugar on their popcorn. I don’t like sweet popcorn. It doesn’t go well with Pinot Noir OR Chardonnay.

 I wonder how popcorn was invented? It must have been some freaky accident, don’t you think?







31 responses to “Popcorn Ponderings

  1. Yesterday I had popcorn and a nice French Merlot for dinner. I thought I was the only freak… 🙂

    PC has their organic microwave popcorn in ha;f-bags now… just the perfect size for one person. No squeaky left-overs the next day.

    I’m off to make a batch right now… you’ve given me a craving.

  2. I’m a big fan of Orville Redenbacher’s “Smart Pop!” with a big “0 Trans Fat” stamp on the front of the box. It’s microwaveable and it cooks perfectly… very few unpopped kernels and it just tastes healthier than theatre popcorn. I remember Jiffy Pop. It reminded me of a pregnant woman. How does such a little container get so large without bursting!

  3. One of the vendors at the Ottawa Farmer’s Market was selling popcorn on the cob early on in the season. According to the bag, it’s Acorn Creek (www.acorncreek.com).

    You just put the dried cob of corn in a paper bag, nuke it, and it comes out all popped–some still on the cob!

    Very, very tasty.

  4. Our air popper was possibly one of the best purchases we ever made. Love that thing. I am purist — I love my melted butter. (just a bit …)

  5. They do still make Jiffy Pop. In fact, my husband and I made some just a few weeks ago. Ed had never had Jiffy Pop when he was a kid, so I made it my mission to find some for us. We cooked it up on the BBQ. The kids thought it was soooo cool. Tasty good, too.

    Popcorn tastes good with port, too! That’s my fave combo.

  6. We had popcorn by the campfire twice a couple of weeks ago when we were camped on Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin. Karen cooked it inside the camper in a big pot, instead of microwave, jiffy pop or hot air. It was just right. I don’t remember what kind, but we alos each had a glass of wine with it. It was GREAT!

    For the origin and a little added history, see the wikipedia article on popcorn.

  7. I’m not a giant popcorn fan, but I like the microwave kettle corn, which by the way is slightly sweet and just fine with beer. I would not be able to tolerate anything drizzled on my popcorn (butter or olive oil) because I would have to wear gloves or wash my hands every 3 minutes. Or maybe I could use small tongs. My Mom used to make popcorn the old fashioned way in the giant pot, but she never burned it or ruined it. But then she was a killer cook with the exception of her spaghetti which was hideous. And now that I think about it, she only salted the popcorn. I’m guessing Dad had the same, uhm, affliction and could not stand to touch oily food. (You know that your daughter watches what you do and is just biding her time to give up regular food so she can have popcorn and wine for dinner.)

  8. Save Reese’s peanut butter cups when they had the genius idea to mix peanut butter and chocolate, everything was a freaky accident.


  9. Bandobras – I should have come to you first with my questions knowing what a gourmande you are.

    Susan – HALF BAGS?? No way! Why haven’t I seen them. I’m going looking right now..okay when the stores open. This is the best news since I don’t know what. French Merlot you say?? What is it about French wine that’s so much nicer and more reliable than New World wines? Or even some of the other Old World wines?

    Skylark – I believe once upon a time there was also an issue with the bags the popcorn came in — something about it leaching bleach or some other chemical in the microwave. I can’t remember, but that’s why I switched to the organic. Theatre popcorn is the worst. It used to be plain popcorn with real butter, now it’s already loaded with salt and fat before it’s even popped. And it tastes awful.

    Centretowner – Wow, that sounds good. I was at the market yesterday, how did I miss that? I will check it out for sure. Thanks

    Nat – Butter on popcorn is definitely the best. But I tried it with olive oil at someone’s place once and I really like it, too. Just a touch.

    Mary Lynn – Port eh? I’ve never been a big port fan, but I shall try it with popcorn and see if that makes a difference. What do you put on your popcorn?

    Mike – Thanks for the link. Some things you don’t really want to know too much about. I prefer to think of popcorn as a wonderful, mysterious gift that resulted when someone did something really stupid. Your Karen must be a popcorn making genius. No burnt kernals on the bottom at all? Or did she secretly scrape them out before bringing the rest out for you? I think we may be on to something here with the wine/popcorn combo. It seems to be very popular. It may replace wine and cheese receptions in the future.

    Geewits – You could use toothpicks like Rainman when he ate his cheeseballs. I think he objected to cheese dust on his hands. Nothing oily on your hands, eh? Just food or do you object to hand lotion, bath oils, axel grease and stuff like that too?

    Aziza – Thank you for confirming that for me. I like the idea that popcorn was a freaky accident. I’d hate to think some science geek deliberately developed this delicious snack food using some geeky chemical formula.

  10. Popcorn making genius? No…, just the third oldest of twelve where popcorn was one of the few snacks they could afford — and before there were hot air poppers and microwaves. I guess she got more practice than most, though she hasn’t made it that way in quite a while.

  11. HI XUP! Been around, just not around as much. Thanks for stopping by to check on me.

    Popcorn is one of those foods that I can eat or nibble on a day or two after fixing it, that is, if any is left. Popcorn and a Pepsi, is the best combo. Something about the salt and the way that Pesi blends the taste. I don’t drink Pepsi any other time….go figure.

    I do remember having to popcorn in a big pot and then came Jiffy Pop (love the pic) and I am not sure that perfected the taste although it certainly improved the convenience.

    And the butter on the popcorn has to be applied at the right temperature at the right time. Never tried Olive Oil, will have to!

    Great question on how it was discovered. Had to be somewhere in the Texas during the heat of the summer (lol). Can you imagine the story of corn popping and not knowing what the hell was happening. Sure fun to think about while enjoying a bowl of Orville Redenbocker.

  12. I would say anything you pair with soda probably pairs well with sparkling wine. Though I would go for something demi-sec or even (gasp!) rose.

    “I wonder how popcorn was invented? It must have been some freaky accident, don’t you think?”

    My guess is back in the day some guys were sitting around the campfire seeing how well things burned. One guy (because this is the sort thing guys do) threw in a corn husk, which shortly thereafter popped. His buddies then dared him to eat and (because this is also the sort of thing that guys do) he did. So I would guess freaky accident pushed along by a dose of machismo.

  13. I love popcorn for dinner. I like hippy popcorn, with nutritional yeast on it, sometimes, and just a little butter and salt other times.

    Microwave popcorn is one of the devil’s foods. Like pizza rolls or wine coolers. It’s not food and it turns your soul all ashy. Buyer beware.

  14. Mike – I’m the oldest of 5 and had to make the big cast iron pot popcorn all the time, but I never got it perfect. It sure was tasty though. I might have to give it another try.

    Hunter – Do they grow corn in Texas? I guess the better question would be, is there anywhere they don’t grow corn? And, Pepsi? Belchhhh. Try it with wine.

    Tantalus – I’ve had popcorn with rose and with Chardonnay, but it’s best with a light red. Nothing sparkling. your explanation rings true, though I’m sure there was even more stupidity involved. The corn had to be dry and it had to be in some sort of enclosed thing to generate the right amount of heat. So I’m thinking it had to be something crazy involving maybe cows and a lot of fire and a steel drum. Lets work with that.

    Deb- Oh man! Nutritional yeast. I never thought of that. Great! And don’t worry, I guard my soul jealously.

  15. what good memories of the overflowing popcorn in the pop. it’s vivid. i too hate the smell of microwave popcorn – why does it have to smell that way.

    they should add popcorn to the list of foods that go with french pinot noir

  16. Raino – Yes, I’m going to write to Vintages magazine and make sure they add popcorn to their list of foods that go with certain wines – ha ha. PS: have you disabled your comments? Your last 2 posts don’t have a comment section any more.

  17. Wine and popcorn! Thanks for the recipe. I love picking up tips for 5 minute meals!!

    I like it with plain old salt, and only a drizzle of oil so the salt has something to adhere to.

    A few shakes of the parmesan can add a burst of gourmet deliciousness too.

    I love popcorn, but the funny thing is I hate hate hate the smell. To me it smells like a million dead farts, but this can be avoided if you have the fan on and the window cracked.

  18. we had an air popper when I was little, and in case that makes me seem a lot older than I am, I’m actually 26. I wish I still had it because the microwave-popcorn option is not great for all the reasons you listed…

  19. When I was a little girl, my dad used to pop popcorn over the fireplace. He had a fine wire mesh basket with a long handle on it, and he would put the kernels in there and pop them over the fire. Then he would put it into a bowl salt, butter and brown sugar on it. The combination of all three things gave it a wonderful buttery salty flavor but it was not too sweet. I can still taste it.

    Microwave popcorn is evil, especially when it burns – which it almost always does. Eeiiuuww.

    Popcorn and wine? Of course! Yum!

  20. i still make it on the stove and make tons of noise doing it…shakka shakka shakka…yum. if i hadn’t just had a big bowl of ben and jerry’s, this post would have inspired me to get popping 🙂

  21. Grumpus – I’m afraid to ask what you normally feed your household if you’re that familiar with the smell of a million dead farts. Glad to have been able to add to your family recipe book!

    Noha – Air poppers are still available and having one as a child only makes you seem 20 something. In the long, long ago days we didn’t even have air poppers! We had to use a big heavy pot with lots of oil on the stove! Can you imagine?

    Jo – Brown sugar and salt, eh? Sounds almost like carmel corn. I wonder what kind of wine would go best with that? Something sort of dessert wine, perhaps?

    Meanie – Really? Do you have a gas range? ‘Cuz I find all that shaking isn’t too good for the normal electric elements. Do you use a cast iron pot?

    Geewits – Wow.

  22. I love popcorn! I make it in a pot still. I melt a bit of butter, throw in the kernels, watch the kernels until the butter becomes white and almost frothy, slam (!) the cover on, and then slowly and gently swish the kernels around in the pot (stove on high). Good hip (hula hoop style) action is required. Oh, that is the best popcorn ever!

  23. I might sell my soul for some kettle corn right about now. Bought some at a stand at the Carp Fair last weekend. YUM. Sugar and salt, but not sticky like caramel corn. A true delicacy.

  24. Oh man, I love sweet and salty popcorn! There are 2 “mom and pop” popcorn shops in my neighborhood. (pun unintended) They make some pretty clever flavors. They both sell ice cream too, apparently popcorn is not sustainable on its own.

  25. Woodsy – you wood nymphs have it all going on when it comes to yummy, hip-swiveling goodness

    Robin – Thanks for the tip. I’ve seen them at Value Village too, but they’re probably more there.

    Alison – Where have I been that I’ve never had this sweet/salty kettle corn? Obviously I need to attend more fall fairs or something

    Helen – Where did you get your real sweet/salty kettle corn?

    Missy – “Mom and Pop”…cute. Is this popcorn freshly popped? Because all the popcorn shops I’ve ever been to sell already made corn and it has a whole different flavour and texture. Not very nice.

  26. I bought a cheap popcorn maker at a garage sale. I can’t seem to part with it. I love plain popcorn and giving myself the option how much salt or whatever.. I want on it.