On another typically rip-roaring Friday night, Carolyn and I settled down to watch part two of Ken Burn’s excellent documentary on World War II. We had made delicious homemade tacos for dinner, and at first were quite full. But then, about an hour into the documentary—while learning about the Battle of Guadalcanal—we got hungry again. And when you’re watching a movie on a cold Friday night, sometimes there’s only one thing that will do: popcorn!
We headed to the pantry and stared at the bag of corn sitting before us, pondering how to facilitate the miraculous transformation from tooth-breaking kernels to fluffy, delicious popcorn. We contemplated using a microwave popping device a friend had given us, but that wasn’t going to work because our microwave was lousy (6 minutes in the ‘wave left way too many unpopped kernels and the ones that did pop burnt). It shouldn’t be this hard, we thought. What were we to do?
After toodling around the Internet, we found our answer—and the result was fantastic: a huge pot full of the tastiest popcorn you could imagine (and healthy, too!). Here’s how we did it:
- Heat up 6 tablespoons of canola oil in a large stock pot with a tight-fitting lid, on medium-high heat.
- Throw in three kernels of popping corn. When the first one pops, dump in a little less than a cup (this will make a hefty batch) of corn, making sure to close the lid.
- Let it pop! Then, once it starts to really pop, lift the pot a couple centimeters off the burner and shake it back and forth. When the popping slows, you can put the pot back on the burner, but be ready to lift and shake once the popping intensity picks back up.
- Once it’s ready, take off the lid and add your flavoring (just salt, or salt plus basil and parmesan, or salt plus rosemary, or salt plus sugar, or salt plus butter, etc., etc. etc)! Put the lid back on, and shake it all around.
And there you have it. A new way to enjoy one of the great American snacks.*
* Some might find the history of popcorn interesting. While we were researching how to make popcorn, we came across several websites dedicated to the history of popcorn, including the delightful Encyclopedia Popcornica. Did you know, for example, that because of its affordability, popcorn was one of the most popular treats during the Great Depression? Or that during World War II, the vast majority of the sugar produced in the United States went to feed soldiers overseas, resulting in a shortage of candy, which in turn caused a spike in popcorn consumption? (Shockingly, we did not learn that last fact in the Ken Burns documentary.)