I Made Popcorn

This is really lame, and I apologize. Again, I started school this week so I didn’t have time to cook anything or eat anywhere interesting. Last night I came home hungry and I made popcorn. My technique was a mix of a few I’d learned. Second kottke reference of the day: I read kottke’s Popcorn Hacks post a few weeks ago and found it interesting. He says you can make microwave popcorn in a large pot. When you dump the bag in, you let the chemical “butter” melt and then coat the kernels and when the first one pops you cover and shake a lot until it stops popping.

That second part is the same one Nancy Silverton advises with her caramel corn recipe. It’s a great technique and I’ve done it before with vegetable oil and organic popcorn kernels. So last night I merged the two ideas and melted 2 Tbs of normal non-chemical butter in a pot, put 1/4 cup of kernels in and coated them all:

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I covered it and when the first one popped, I began to shake vigorously. Lots of popping and when it subsided I dumped it into a bowl and sprinkled with kosher salt:

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This was very fresh tasting and enjoyable. It wasn’t as naughty as movie theater popcorn or microwave popcorn but offered many of the same pleasures.

You know, I think if I have one food philosophy it’s not anti-fat (obviously) or anti-carb (no kidding): it’s anti-chemical. That’s the biggest change that’s come over my life since I started food blogging: in my old life, I ate processed foods like it was my job. My favorite thing to cook was a frozen California Pizza Kitchen pizza or Pillsbury cinnamon buns. Now I actively avoid anything that involves a periodic table to understand the ingredients. It’s not a philosophy that has a real following anywhere because the ends aren’t obvious: it doesn’t make you skinnier or prettier or maybe, even, healthier. But it makes you appreciate and enjoy food more: like with the popcorn, those three elements–popcorn, butter and salt–were each in their purest form and your mouth can feel the difference. And once you start thinking on those terms, it’s difficult to enjoy, say, a McDonald’s apple pie the way you might have when you were younger. But it makes real apple pie all that much better. [END SERMON]

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