Looking ahead to the rain in the forecast and maybe the final cool evenings, I suspect some people might like to settle in for some movies at home. (A recent Rasmussen poll found that 89% of people rarely, if ever, go out to the movies, while only 14% rarely watch a movie at home.) What do all these armchair film critics snack on these days?
Do people still enjoy popcorn? I’d argue that microwave and theater popcorn have given the snack a bad rap. Yes, people continue to guiltily (and grudgingly) shell out big bucks to eat the toxic stuff in the theater and someone must be buying microwave popcorn to justify the large section devoted to it at my local. It’s easy and healthy, they might say. I’m skeptical about that last part.
There on the bottom shelf, pushed to the back, in an unassuming plastic bag with an even more unassuming price tag sits the simple unpopped corn kernels. Unassuming, perhaps, but it is the frog that will become a prince. Never buy microwave popcorn again.
Coat the bottom of a medium soup pot with vegetable oil and then a layer or two of corn kernels. Get the high heat going. I give the whole thing a heavy dusting of Creole seasoning, but onion or garlic powder would work fine, throw in several pats of butter, and put a lid on it. (Note: You can try sugar in the pot for a kettle corn experience, but chances are pretty high that the sweet flavor with be matched or exceeded by a burnt one.)
It pops up in 5 minutes at that high heat, but you’ll want to be on hand to give the pot a few shakes, again to keep the burn at bay. When the popping pretty much stops, dump all that salty, buttery, spicy popcorn into a bowl. Some people enjoy the addition of grated parmesan cheese.
It goes best with orange juice, champagne, or a round of Americanos—that’s Campari, soda water, and sweet vermouth. A simple pleasure. It will remind you of how you used to do it 30 years ago.