Friday, April 29, 2011

Step Away from the Microwave!

Just a quick, fun post today!

I sure hope my family is eating healthy while I'm out of town. I know that whenever I'm gone, they feast on all those snacky foods that aren't good for them. My kids are all adults now, and know better (and my husband has been an adult for even longer) but that doesn't mean they always make the best food choices.

Truth be told, neither do I.

But, let's talk about one of America's favorite snacks: Popcorn. It sells by the bucketful at movie theaters and people make it at home every day.

We love popcorn here. Tasty, full of fiber, perfect watching TV food, right?

Here's a question for you. Do you use microwave popcorn or do you make your own?

If you're like most people, you rely on microwave popcorn to satisfy that salty, buttery craving. For years people didn't think twice about popping a bag in, zapping it, and enjoying a bowl within minutes. Well... now we're hearing claims that microwave popcorn chemicals may be hazardous to our health. (What *isn't* nowadays?)

I can't say whether those claims are true or bogus. But I can tell you that homemade popcorn isn't just superior... it's *FAR* superior to any microwave popcorn I've ever tried.

Best of all, it's inexpensive, and easy.

Here's what you need:

Popcorn oil
Popcorn salt

It helps to have an old aluminum pot. The more beat up, the better. And if you can get one like this that has a lid that clamps down, all the better. I took this one from my mom when I first got married. She didn't mind. I'd always been the one who popped popcorn at home and my mom had always nagged me to remember to wash it when I was done. I never remembered to do so. And now my kids don't remember to wash it, either. What goes around...

Anyway, although you can buy a fancy one at Williams-Sonoma I've seen pots like these at estate sales and antique stores for less than a couple of dollars. I like to keep mine for popcorn only. I think it keeps the taste pure.

Let me add one small tidbit: My sincere thanks to TV Time popcorn for inspiring me. I used to buy their brand all the time. Best popcorn ever. But when microwave versions took over, TV Time disappeared. Now I use their "recipe" to make my own.

Here goes:

Add enough popcorn oil to cover the bottom of your pot. Add about a teaspoon of popcorn salt at this time. Yes, before you pop. You'll know after your first batch whether you need to use more or less in future batches. These days I just eyeball it.

Add about a handful of popcorn. It should almost, but not quite, cover the bottom of the pan.

Turn heat to high, cover pot, and wait. When the first kernal pops, turn the heat off but leave the pot there. Wait one minute.

Turn heat back on to high. When you next hear a kernal pop, lift pot off the burner and begin to move it around, shaking it thoroughly to keep kernels at the bottom. Keep the pan somewhat near the burner. If you lift too high you won't get enough heat.

When the popping slows, but before it stops, remove from heat (place it on another, cool, burner) and when popping stops, remove lid. Pour into bowl and you're good to go.

You don't want to overpop (burn) the popcorn, so that's why you remove it from the heat before it finishes.

That's it. Easy, good for you, and much, much better tasting than the microwave stuff.

Happy Popping!



  1. I love hearing the popping sounds and seeing the lid rise up as the pot is being filled with popcorn.

  2. I have a pot just like that one! Good idea to keep a pot just for popcorn. I'm with Dru...I love the sounds and sights of popcorn being made. :)

  3. Dru's right. That's such a fun sound. And the wonderful, warm scent rising up... Popcorn nights are fun nights!

  4. Julie, I'm with Dru. I love the sound of popcorn. And having one pot dedicated to popcorn...brilliant! Movie time!!


  5. I definitely agree with you... homemade popcorn is THE best! I don't think I've had microwave popcorn since I was little!

  6. We love microwave popcorn but we also have an air popper so we do both. I love both for a reason - like between homemade bread and really good store bought bread. I don't get just any ole microwave popcorn and we make up a lot of different types of homemade popcorn.
    Back before "microwave" popcorn my grandma would pop popcorn in a lunch bag in the microwave.

  7. Peggy - I could really go for some right now!

    Sara - good analogy! And I'd heard about popping corn in a lunch bag in the microwave, but I've never tried it.

    Hmm... experiment time...

  8. OMG, Julie, just like you (and Elizabeth/Riley), I have a pot much like yours, and it was one my mom and aunt used for years, too, so it's very special to me. I also use it for popping popcorn (although not exclusively :)).

    I'm a lifelong fan of popping popcorn this "old fashioned" way so I'm thrilled you chose to spotlight this idea. It's also a great way to use flavored oils. My fave lately is to add a bit of hot chili oil into the canola oil, really kicks up the flavor.

    TGIF -- and I hope you're having a fab time at Malice!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter