Food Memories – Popcorn

The Universe introduced me to Jenna Satterthwaite, and her blog, about a year ago and I have been hounding the woman for a Food Memory ever since.  My persistence finally paid off when she posted about her long term relationship with popcorn.  A few emails later and I had her permission to go ahead with Food Memories – Popcorn.  I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce y’all to Jenna.  She cooks, she sings in a band, she’s been to Ree’s Ranch (lucky girl), and she has an obsession with putting a camera in the face of cute babies.  You can follow her adventures at Jenna’s Everything Blog.

Jenna’s Popcorn

When I first starting blogging almost a year ago, I was in a frenzy of excitement thinking about all the things I could write about. Funny childhood stories, Photoshop learning experiences, cooking, reviews on books I was reading–topics seemed to stretch to the horizon. “You should write about your popcorn pot,” my husband said. “Yeah!” I agreed, and then proceeded not to write about it ever.

Every so often over the next months, when I was having a case of writer’s block or an uninispired stretch, my husband would exclaim “You should write about popcorn and take a picture showing your bowl versus my bowl!” “Uh huh,” I would agree vacantly. And then I would write about something totally different.

Last week wore me out, and as soon as I had recovered some of my energies over the weekend, I went and spent them on my musical endeavors (how dare she!). So when Monday arrived and I faced my computer, I couldn’t seem to bring myself to write about anything. All of a sudden, I wondered if I had simply run out of things to say. I mean, looking at my recent activity on this here blog, it’s all either about cooking, or James. Seriously folks, I’ve been cruising off the 2 days I spent with Heidi and James for far too long–somehow I’ve squeezed 5 blog posts out of that one event, maybe because I feel like material is running in short supply. Maybe I’ve lost my touch, my brain informed me as I sat in my chair, glassy-eyed.

And then, the voice of my husband came back to me. “Wriiiiite abbooooouuuuut paaaaawwwwwpcwwwoooorrrrrrrn,” said the ghostly apparition. So I will write about popcorn.

I love popcorn. My sisters and I grew up eating it during movies, during long study sessions, and on the couch as we immersed ourselves in a good novel. As soon as we were old enough, we started popping our own on the stove, with a goodly amount of olive oil and melted butter poured over top.

My popcorn habit has never stopped. I pop myself a bowl probably about 4 times per week, always in the evening after dinner. To me, it’s like a night cap. It signals: it’s time to relax. Happiness and rest is at hand. Granted, I have stopped using melted butter and am quite happy with a sprinkling of regular salt instead of the flavored kinds I was briefly addicted to, but still–you don’t want to know the amount of calories involved. You just don’t.

Another thing you should know: I like to have my own popcorn bowl. Correction: I need to have my own popcorn bowl. This is a trait my sisters share as well: we must have our own exclusive popcorn space. Upon my marriage six years ago, I soon realized that when my brand-spanking new husband shared my popcorn during a movie, I had to resist the urge to snatch up the bowl and make a run for it. Yes, I was feeling very possessive about my popcorn. You need to learn to share! I moralized myself. But the Little Train that Could, this time, Couldn’t. So I told my wonderful new husband that if he wanted to share my popcorn, he had to get his own bowl. I had to maintain exclusive rights to my stash. I’d share, but the actual vessels of the snack must remain separate.

I’m working on my issues as we speak, because I have a feeling that any children that come into our lives may not respect these boundaries.

Here is my bowl next to his bowl.

Let’s get a closer look at this rather noteworthy discrepancy in bowl size.

And let’s be honest–sometimes he only goes for a little red ramekin-full.

I have long had a metabolism and occupation that could handle this kind of popcorn. Heck, with the stress and physical activity of my previous job, I probably could have eaten three times as much and burnt it all off in a single encounter with my boss. However, changes have occurred in my work-life that have caused a certain bottom and a certain swively chair to become strongly connected. Bosom-buddies, so to speak. Having hit a small growth spurt since coming to Chicago (read: wider not taller; read; I sit in a chair in an office all day; read: I love food; read: I loathe aerobic exercise) one of the areas I’m placing under careful examination is my popcorn habit.

Resolution #1A: instead of liberally pouring popcorn kernels into the pot, I have started measuring out my allotment. I’m currently down from about 1/2 cup of kernels to 1/3 cup, with views on that very modest 1/4 cup. There has been no change in the size of my girth . . . yet.

Resolution #1B: choose to love the girth? (Resolution Still Under Review)

And on the subject of the popcorn pot . . . well, I can’t hide this monstrosity forever.

No, I don’t wash it more than once per month. Okay, fine! More like once per quarter.

Yes, it came from the same set of pots gifted to us for our wedding many years ago. The other pots still look practically new, but this guy . . . I have aged him beyond repair.

Please accompany me on a short journey of rationalization: I figure if there are germs, I’m just making my immune system stronger. I figure if it’s an ugly pot, I’m just teaching myself to look past the surface of things. I figure if the pot looks about 95 years old, it’s just preparing me for being 95 years old and still loving the way I look. I figure it the grease gets so caked on that it will never come off, well, there’s another reason not to bother washing it.

And that, my friends, is all I have to say.

Jenna’s Popcorn

Adapted from Jenna Sattherthwaite

BAH Note: As I commented on Jenna’s post, my memories of popcorn involve the magic of Jiffy Pop.  I loved watching that foil puff up as the kernels popped. Then with the advent of microwave popcorn, the method of making popcorn got so far removed from anything that resembles cooking that I was grateful for Jenna’s primer on the process.  Here’s what she does:

  • Choose a ‘sturdy’ pot (if the pot is made of very thin metal, the popcorn will tend to burn).
  • Pour in any kind of oil (olive, peanut, canola, etc) until the oil completely covers the bottom of the pot.
  • Pour in popcorn kernels until there is a single layer across the bottom of the pot.
  • Turn the flame on medium high and cover the pot.
  • Shake the pot around a couple times during cooking while the kernels are popping (holding the cover firmly so that the popcorn stays contained!).
  • When there is a 2-3 second interval between kernels popping, pour the popcorn into a bowl.
  • Add salt to taste, and if you want to be truly decadent, melted butter (mmmmm).

Yup, it really is THAT easy.  And if you happen to have bought some coconut oil for those Pomme Frites, I can attest that it works beautifully for popping corn.

{printable recipe}

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8 Responses to Food Memories – Popcorn

  1. I totally grew up on microwave popcorn. For a long time, I didn’t even know that you could pop popcorn on the stove. Only recently have I started making it in a Dutch oven. And Jenna, I love the pictures of your popcorn bowl vs. your husband’s. I got a good laugh out of the size discrepancy.

    • Wendi says:

      Jennifer, hold on to your Dutch oven because I have a caramel corn post coming up on Wednesday. And I blame it all on Jenna starting my trip down memory lane with popcorn.

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  2. JenniferA says:

    What a great post and I don’t even love popcorn (unless it is covered in caramel or chocolate or both.) I will definitely be checking out Jenna’s blog. Thanks for featuring her, Wendi!

    P.s. – I recently learned that a friend has a similar popcorn bowl and habit. She must have her very own wide, shallow bowl so she can spread it all out and cover it with four slices of Cooper sharp American cheese.

    • Wendi says:

      Jennifer, the last time The Mistah and I had popcorn I dressed it with a bit of Penzey’s chili powder blend. It. Was. Outrageous.

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  3. Jenna says:

    Aw, thanks for the feature Wendi! I had totally forgotten this was coming, so it was a nice surprise this afternoon when I pulled up Google Reader. =) And Jennifer’s mention of topping popcorn with some slices of American cheese has me dreaming about tonight’s snack already . . .

    • Wendi says:

      Jenna, hope this made your Monday a little brighter. And be sure to check back on Wednesday when I continue the popcorn theme. Thanks for getting it off to a great start.

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  4. Papa Guy says:

    Or, One could go to the movies…..War Horse was good, Girl with the Dragon Tatoo was awesome, at least for us it was. Some might say it was a little raw. Extreamely Loud and Incredibly Close was a tear jerker…. mmmmm popcorn.

    • Wendi says:

      Papa, movie theater popcorn is an entirely different beast. I watched the Swedish (I think) version of GwtDT. Raw would be an understatement.

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