[caption id="attachment_1177" align="alignleft" width="319" caption="My younger sister, circa 1996."][/caption]

This Wednesday was National Popcorn Day.  Yes, I seemed to miss the parade too.

We ate gallons of air popped popcorn growing up.  And later in the 80s, I quite willingly made the transition to the ballooning bags in the microwave.  Then on August 14, 2003 my popcorn life was changed forever.  That day was the massive blackout across most of the northeast.  I was living in Brooklyn at the time, and working in Times Square.  With every form of public, and private, transportation debilitated, I walked to a friends apartment (in flip flops) thirty blocks south.  I spent the night there, before walking across the Brooklyn Bridge (ah-hem, flip flops) the next morning.  With no electricity, we scrounged up a pretty great eight-hour happy hour in their courtyard, subsisting mostly on popcorn popped on their gas stove.

If you haven't made it before, RUN (ideally not in flip flops) to your stove and whip up a batch of anti-microwave popcorn.  The instructions are below.  A bag of kernels yeilds so much more, costing so much less, than a box of three microwave bags.  And you get to control the flavor, fat, salt, and freshness of the whole production.  (psssst...a lot less packaging and waste for the planet too!)

Look for popcorn kernels at your farmer's markets as well!  A great, whole food, snack that you can easily replenish again and again on game day.

And coming up next is the main attraction:  DIY Flavored Salts!

3 Tablespoon Cooking Oil (Canola, Sunflower, Peanut--oils with a high smoke point, not olive oil)
1/3 Cup Popcorn Kernels

Pour oil and 3-4 popcorn kernals in a large heavy bottomed pot, with a lid.  Cover with lid and put over high heat.  Wait for "test kernals" to pop, and then carefully remove the lid and pour in the remaining kernels all at once.  Return the lid to the pot and turn heat down slightly. Shake pot frequently, back and forth, as the corn is popping.  Continue until the pops decrease to every few seconds.

Remove from heat.  Carefully remove lid, as a lot of steam will build up during the cooking process.  Season to taste.

Note:  This yields about 8 cups of popped corn, depending on variety and number of dud kernels.  It is a deceivingly small amount of kernels which results in such a large amount of finished product.   Resist the urge to throw in another handful, or else you could exceed the capacity of the pot and end up with a small disaster.

One response to “Popcorn”

  1. […] honor of last week’s National Popcorn Day, I’ve done some tinkering in the kitchen with flavorings.  My favorite project was coming up […]

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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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