So goddamn good
December 31, 2008 5:56 AM   Subscribe

Popcorn, getcha hot, fresh popcorn!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (43 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
There's barely one mention of microwave popcorn.


That's a good thing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:08 AM on December 31, 2008


The colonists loved popcorn so much they served it with sugar and cream for breakfast. This was the very first puffed breakfast cereal.
I am intrigued…
posted by device55 at 6:13 AM on December 31, 2008


There's barely one mention of microwave popcorn.

Actually post was sparked by an interest in microwave popcorn and how it came about(popcorn was one of the first food deliberately cooked in a microwave), but then other stuff got interesting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 AM on December 31, 2008


Indeed. According to Alton Brown processed 'flaky' cereal was developed in part because Kellogg couldn't get people to shell out money for boxes of popped corn.
posted by Science! at 6:44 AM on December 31, 2008


Now it's all micro-ruined.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:47 AM on December 31, 2008


popcorn was one of the first food deliberately cooked in a microwave

Tangent alert...

Back when Madonna was still talking to her brother Christopher - around 1991, I think - she asked him to design her Manhattan apartment. The results were profiled in Architectural Digest, which quoted him as explaining that the microwave oven in the kitchen had as its sole purpose the making of popcorn.

At the time, this struck me as an implausible bit of image management. As if to say, "Of course someone as fabulous as Madonna always insists on freshly prepared food." But given all we've learned since about her food fascism, I suppose he was telling the truth.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:53 AM on December 31, 2008


I got a popcorn popper for Christmas! This post reminded me that it's still sitting there in the box.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:22 AM on December 31, 2008


Now I've got this song stuck in my head.
posted by jozxyqk at 7:26 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


A bit more tangential detail, about how the microwave encapsulates much of the story of technology in the second half of the twentieth century.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:28 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


I got a popcorn popper for Christmas!

My mother got me one of those ridiculous jukebox-shaped air poppers from the drug store for some reason. All it does is shoot red-hot kernels at high speed all over the kitchen.

I'll stick with my knockoff whirlypop I got on clearance two Christmases ago. I panic if I run out of popcorn; I can't go more than two or three days without it.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:31 AM on December 31, 2008


We got a popcorn machine a few years ago as a gift.

We never used it.

And popcorn can never replace my candy!
posted by SneakyArab at 7:43 AM on December 31, 2008


popcorn facts
posted by netbros at 7:44 AM on December 31, 2008


I actually like the stove top popped pop corn over the microwave bagged stuff. That butter lovers Act 2 stuff can't be good for you. This is probably why I got the thing in the first place. What a thoughtful gift. I'm going to have a movie night one of these days and use it.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:59 AM on December 31, 2008


I've tried, but I will probably never love stovetop more than microwave popcorn.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:01 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll stick with my Cornballer.
posted by proj at 8:06 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know how, before it's cooked, microwave popcorn bags are rigid? That's because they use fat that melts at a high temperature. I wonder if the fat hardens again in the arteries.
posted by exogenous at 8:44 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Excellent link from StickyCarpet about the history of the microwave oven.
posted by briank at 8:45 AM on December 31, 2008


I actually like the stove top popped pop corn over the microwave bagged stuff. That butter lovers Act 2 stuff can't be good for you.

Step 1: take ordinary popcorn kernels from bulk store or wherever.

Step 2: place in ordinary paper (*not* plastic-coated) lunch bag with top folded over.

Step 3: place in microwave on popcorn setting. Listen as usual in case that setting is a bit too short or too long.

Step 4: melt butter and add, with salt.

No crappy granulated fake butter. No crazy pot shaking over the element. No tasteless air popped fluff. No additional appliance for the sole preparation of one snack.

I had to date someone rather atrocious for this bit of info. I give it to you for nothing.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:46 AM on December 31, 2008 [7 favorites]


Though, you know. Call me.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:47 AM on December 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


FWIW, I accidentally discovered that the way to use my air popper and NOT have popcorn shooting all over the kitchen is to make sure it is good and hot before putting the popcorn in. The major culprit in the kitchen desecration is kernels that are ejected and then pop in the bowl, sending popcorn flying. For reasons I don't quite understand this just doesn't happen (or hardly ever happens) when the thing is fully heated up first. Also, the popcorn almost all pops and there hardly any un-popped kernels that way (I'm using the Orville Redenbacker popcorn that comes in the plastic bottle).
posted by lordrunningclam at 8:56 AM on December 31, 2008


To those who aren't down with the air-poppers that supposedly fire red-hot kernels all over the place.. the secret is, you have to MAKE ENOUGH POPCORN. If you use less than a half-cup of unpopped kernels, you'll never have enough popped kernels in the cylinder to keep the hot unpopped kernels from flying out. If you have enough popcorn in the cylinder, you'll get that seemingly unending plume of popped corn flowing out like lava, which also keeps the unpopped from exiting. And to those who think it's plain.. DUH of course it is, that's why you add GOOD melted butter (the french kind), and salt to taste. Or else you can add Japanese rice crackers, or nori, or caramel and peanuts. Air popping is the most healthy snack and it only takes a minute!
posted by ChickenringNYC at 8:58 AM on December 31, 2008


Here's to almost-identical comments, Lord.. you're right about that too.
posted by ChickenringNYC at 8:59 AM on December 31, 2008


My love affair with popcorn was reborn with this nordic ware bowl. Dump in some bulk corn, pour over some oil if you like (I tend to use grapeseed oil or some wonderful habenero-infused olive oil), add salt now or later, plop the lid on and microwave for a couple of minutes (listening of course). Eat it right out of the bowl. Hold it by the rim for the first minute or so.

Always fresh, infinitely variable as to salt and oil combinatins (or neither), cooks in the serving bowl, trivial cleanup.
posted by cairnish at 9:09 AM on December 31, 2008


BTW, "combinatins" are like statins, so, uh, health something-or-other, blah blah. Where's that dang edit link...
posted by cairnish at 9:20 AM on December 31, 2008


An interesting question on Ask about Chinese popcorn. Just search for it on YouTube, the videos are amazing!
posted by sararah at 9:25 AM on December 31, 2008


Brownbag Popcorn

Make your own "microwave" popcorn at home.
posted by anastasiav at 9:42 AM on December 31, 2008


Mmmmm popcorn. Some nights I just eat popcorn for dinner. It might be a purely psychosomatic effect, but popcorn (popped on the stove in cheap olive oil) tastes a hundred times better with fancy yuppie salt.

jozxyqk, I know the song you mean but when I try to remember it I get the Six Flags Dancing Geriatric Song instead. (I have a neighbor who looks just like the ancient dancing guy in those commercials. He says he planted the tree in front of my apartment building, about 50 years ago. Come to think of it, maybe that's why he doesn't like my dog to pee there.)
posted by moonmilk at 9:46 AM on December 31, 2008


That's it. All these ideas for popcorn... My new popcorn popper is coming out of the box and straight into my heart!
posted by Mastercheddaar at 9:54 AM on December 31, 2008


The Six Flags Dancing Geriatric Song is an entirely different earworm, moonmilk.
posted by jozxyqk at 10:01 AM on December 31, 2008


No tasteless air popped fluff.

If you want tasteful air popped corn, you can try this method:

Place a brown paper bag to catch the popcorn, if you use a big bag you might open a drawer under the counter and put the bag there for extra depth.

As the popcorn accumulates, drizzle a bit of soy sauce on the popcorn. The hot air from the popper will dry out the liquid. Gather the bag around the popper dispenser to contain the hot air.

Sprinkle in a bit of Parmesan, cayenne, salt and pepper throughout the process.

When popping is complete, shake the bag a few times, dry with more hot air as needed.

Voila, tasty seasoned popcorn.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:04 AM on December 31, 2008


High Speed shot of popcorn exploding.

My favorite way of popcorn? No salt and no butter, just plain popcorn.
posted by lilkeith07 at 10:06 AM on December 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


Popcorn With a Feeling.

Mother Popcorn

Let a Man Come in and Do the Popcorn

couldn't resist throwing some JB this way
posted by Burhanistan at 10:06 AM on December 31, 2008


I have never liked brown bag microwave popcorn. Do you think there is problem with my microwave? Air popper-popped is okay and much fluffier than microwave.

Bear in mind, if at all possible I have coconut oil popped stove popcorn with butter and salt shaken up in a big paper bag for perfect stalt distribution.

I am going to try popcorn with sugar and goat milk (no cream in the house) just to see. Brown cone sugar.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:32 AM on December 31, 2008


Popcorn, just salt no butter, is the comfort food of choice for the highly-strung model-types I know. Dressing rooms at shoots reek of the three Ps, perfume, powder, and microwaved popcorn.

Some people, I couldn't imagine who, lay out popcorn at parties infused with a small amount of THC-enriched butter which leads to hilarious results when someone's mother eats a whole handful without noticing and ends up having a deep discussion with you about how awesome L.A was in the 70s.
posted by The Whelk at 10:49 AM on December 31, 2008


I was raised on pretty decent air-popped popcorn that always turned out half-unpopped and then Reddenbacher's microwave stuff. It's always been my favourite snack food. But then a few years ago, I learned I could effortlessly make a batch of my beloved popcorn on my stovetop, using a standard saucepan, a handful of cheap bulk kernels and a puddle of olive oil. It generally takes about 4-6 min, a few vigourous shakes of the pan, and a slight tilting of the lid to release some steam. There's rarely more than a tiny pocket of unpopped kernels, and the popcorn itself is the lightest and fluffiest and richest tasting I've ever managed at home. (I've resigned myself to never being able to truly duplicate the unparalleled ambrosia of those movie-theatre poppers at home.)

So my question: Given this is the cheaper, healthier and tastier alternative and that the time and effort involved are negligibly more than the microwave, why is it that the vast majority of consumers has decided the microwave is the best appliance in their kitchen for popping corn? Was Reddenbacher a front for Archer Daniels Midland's legions of mutant-corn peddlers? What gives?

Also, as a public service, I feel obliged to note that if you put anything other than real melted butter and salt on your popcorn, you are transgressing the earth's natural order.
posted by gompa at 10:51 AM on December 31, 2008


Given this is the cheaper, healthier and tastier alternative and that the time and effort involved are negligibly more than the microwave, why is it that the vast majority of consumers has decided the microwave is the best appliance in their kitchen for popping corn?

Leaving aside that you may be talking about the pre-bagged gunk when you refer to "cheaper", "healthier" and "tastier", I originally started microwaving because I like popcorn at all hours, and stovetop preparation tends to involve a lot of loud clanging and scraping of pot over element. It began strictly as a noise issue. Now it's the convenience, plus all those other attributes you mentioned.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:36 AM on December 31, 2008


I ONCE GOT
A BURNING HOT KERNAL
STUCK BETWEEN MY TOES
BURMA SHAVE.


(also, don't stand near a popcorn popper in bare feet if the popper tends to shoot super-heated kernals out while popping corn)
posted by blue_beetle at 11:40 AM on December 31, 2008


ChickenringNYC has truly identified the secret to air-popping, which I just figured out a while ago.






WHERE WERE YOU ALL THOSE YEARS I SPENT DUCKING HOT MISSILES, CHICKENRINGNYC???
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:11 PM on December 31, 2008


why is it that the vast majority of consumers has decided the microwave is the best appliance in their kitchen for popping corn?

Doing it by stovetop requires most of your attention. Throwing a bag in a microwave allows you to do something else in the meantime, especially if you know just how long a particular brand takes to pop.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:09 PM on December 31, 2008


Someone correct me if I’m wrong but it looks to me like popcorn, as the food that explodes, wants to get the maximum heat it can get as quick as it can get it... and then go straight to cool.
To do that you need a hot stove and a thin, conductive pot and a sink full of water to cool the pot when the pop corn is done.

The Chinese use peanut oil to stir fry because it gets hotter than any other cooking oil before it starts to smoke. For reasons I don’t understand, popcorn oil, even though its hotter when its smoking, doesn’t pop nearly as well once its started to smoke. So put the oil in the pot over a super hot burner, swish it around now and then and watch for the harbingers of smoke. When you see the harbingers dump your popcorn in, cover the pot and shake it as much or as little as you want to.

A really great pop is a continuous rapid explosion that’s over in about 60 seconds. I used to get that with my old pot... the thinnest, scroungiest aluminum pot ever, until my violent ex-girlfriend jumped up and down on it and stomped it flat.

The funny thing is... after I got it back to, more or less, pot shape with a rubber mallet it worked better than ever. Aluminum is more subject to work hardening than other metals, so it still had a lot of dents and wrinkles.

She and I are still freinds.
posted by Huplescat at 5:16 PM on December 31, 2008


I had my first summer job at a small movie theater where I would sometimes work at the concessions stand. There were big sacks of popcorn in the back that amazed me, red-and-yellow stripes going down the bag like a pre-Communist Vietnamese flag (Redenbacher's.) The popcorn was very buttery and soft to our customers, in that we used an extremely appetizing powdered butter-flavoring called Flavacol and that on really slow days I'd just keep mixing the same batch of fluffy goodness. The couple times I had to close, I'd spend the wee hours wiping out the inside of the machine, my torso plunged into the depths of the hot, whirring machine while my pores filled with vaporized Flavacol. Needless to say the most satisfying thing for me about popcorn at the theater is making the machine really shiny.
posted by mmmleaf at 9:11 PM on December 31, 2008


I have learned much from this thread.
posted by telstar at 12:36 AM on January 1, 2009


Forgot a key popcorn fact: When popcorn is wet, with water or milk, the texture is freaky and nasty.

Remember the gag where you ask a sibling to hold a handful of popcorn over the sink, and then you poor water in their hand so they can feel the popcorn soggifying? That's how gross popcorn cereal is. Colonists must have also had beer for breakfast if they could get this stuff down.

Smells like a caramel popcorn ball. To icky to chew or swallow because of texture. Have you ever had to rip out gross moldy damp carpet padding? About like that.

And by the way, not a lot of milk. That whole rule about enough milk until the first Cheerio floats strikes me as about twice as much milk as cereal needs.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 11:21 AM on January 1, 2009


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