Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 19: Popcorn Day

Popcorn is such an awesome snack.  For some people, it's a staple at the movies.  (Not for me - when I'm at the movies, I get Icees.  Preferably red ones.)  Some people drench it in butter.  Some prefer kettle corn.  Some prefer their popcorn drizzled with chocolates and nuts.  Or how about popcorn with caramel and nuts mixed in?

Popcorn is a whole grain food and is pretty darn good for you.  The benefits of whole grain are pretty much touted everywhere these days.  The problem with popcorn, though, is what you add to the popcorn.  Do you add excessive amounts of butter?  Or cover each piece completely in chocolate sauce before eating it?

Popcorn also makes a great party snack.  It's cheap and if you have access to one of the mini-popcorn-machines, you can have a blast making the popcorn.  Having a huge party or a wedding with a carnival or movie theme?  Consider renting a large popcorn maker - it's sure to be a hit.

While I enjoy the occasional box of CrackerJacks or MooseMunch, when I make popcorn at home I try to keep it fairly healthy.  My preferred go-to-popcorn-toppings are typically found in the spice rack: paprika, chili, cinnamon, spice mixes, garlic powder, pepper...  I'll go through phases of what I want on my popcorn.  Currently, it's the spice mix you see pictured.  Remember - I like my food spicy.

So in honor of National Popcorn Day, I made some popcorn to nosh on while watching my free Redbox rental.  (I love how they give a free code every month!)  I made quite a bit.  The large silver bowl is the unflavored popcorn, front left is buttered popcorn, and mine is the popcorn front right.  The only downside to how I eat popcorn?  Without oil of some sort, the spice has a tendency to fall off and settle to the bottom of the bowl.  This means I'm always trying to scoop up as much spice as possible with the last pieces of popcorn.

A long time ago, I stopped consuming microwave popcorn.  Since I also don't have an air popper anymore, I pop my popcorn on the stove in a saucepan.  This never ceases to amaze my friends - they've all gotten so used to microwave popcorn and air poppers that the "old-fashioned" way of making popcorn is fascinating to them.  It's really simple, too - heat a little oil in a sauce pan, add 2-3 kernels of corn, when the kernels pop, add more kernels, constantly move the pan to keep from burning the popcorn, and then keep on heat until all the kernels have popped.

On a final note, air poppers are fun because if you angle a bowl just right, you can get the popcorn to shoot off in many directions and then everyone tries to catch the popcorn.  Granted, you end up with a huge mess, but you'll laugh until it hurts.

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