I’ve been on a bit of a popcorn bender lately. It all started innocently enough. One evening a few weeks ago I was settling in for the night, all snuggled up in my cozy comfy bed, when I came across an Alton Brown episode about popcorn. And then I started craving it. The only problem was that I’d never made popcorn the “old fashioned” stove top way. We had one of those air poppers when I was a kid that made something resembling the texture of fluffy cardboard, and I distinctly remember an alarming incident at my grandmother’s where we attempted to make popcorn in the fireplace with a fancy contraption from LL. Bean. My mother somehow managed to catch it on fire and melt off the little knob that served as the lid handle. And of course I’ve consumed my weight in the microwave brand, but there was something incredibly intimidating to me about making popcorn on top of my stove.
Fear of the unknown forced me to do what any clueless girl would. I polled all my girlfriends via mass email asking them to assuage my fears and impart on me all of the “knowledge and wisdom” I would need to make a yummy batch of popcorn (and not catch my kitchen on fire). These brilliant ladies all agreed with Alton Brown that the keys to great popcorn were lots of salt and good oil (but not too much). After a tentative start, and a few searing hot kernel burns (do not remove the pot lid too hastily) I did manage to make a pretty yummy first batch of popcorn and I didn’t even need to use any butter.
I definitely don’t recommend using a heavy pan to make popcorn. I practically gave myself carpel tunnel trying to shake one of my All-Clad saucepans. I switched to an old lightweight college cast off after that. It’s now become the official popcorn pan. I’m completely juvenile and really enjoy the fact that it has a see-through lid. I admit it. I totally dig being able to watch the corn popping.
On my way home from Crane Beach one weekend I even branched out a bit and bought some fancy “Crimson Jewel” dark colored popcorn kernels at Russell Farms (a local farm stand / winery). The popping of this corn finally allowed me to answer a nagging childhood question that was brought about by countless marathon readings of Tomie dePaola’s The Popcorn Book. Of course I’ve always known deep down that all popcorn pops into snowy white kernels, but the five-year-old Erin that still exists somewhere inside of me was a bit skeptical. Fortunately grown-up Erin now has delicious proof.
Big Fluffy Results