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Popcorn

Posted by tinako on February 27, 2011

Welcome to my 95% fact-free rambling about popcorn.

Once upon a time people made popcorn outside their microwaves.  It was cheaper, and it was chemical-free unless you added some strange “buttery” sprinkles.  I still do this.

Mirro Popper

This looks more or less like the popper we had when I was growing up.  Ours had more stable legs.  It was so retro it didn’t even have a clear lid or built-in flip-it-over bowl like later ones did.  But it made the best popcorn, hands down.  When I went to college, the popper’s glory days were behind it; the handle had broken off and it took several potholders to work it, so it was sent with me, but it still made great popcorn.  Eventually it stopped working and had to be junked.

In the early ’80s people started popping with air poppers.  I think they were making cushioning for packing boxes.  Awful.

I’ve been looking at sites about the history of popcorn and they say microwave popcorn was invented in the ’40s.  But we didn’t even get a microwave until about 1984.  The Orville Redenbocker site shows him pitching bottles of popcorn until an ad in 1989 when he (or more accurately ConAgra)  introduced Light Microwave Popcorn, so presumably regular had been around just a few years.

We all threw away our popcorn makers and enjoyed the always buttery taste of the more convenient microwave popcorn.

Whirley Pop

My brother got me a Whirley Pop a few years back, and I love it almost as much as that first old popper.  I love how the only ingredients are corn, oil, and salt.  It’s simple, it’s whole grain, and you can make a big batch of organic popcorn for pennies.

  • 1/2 c popping corn
  • about 2 T oil
  • 1/2 t salt

I put the salt right in the Whirley Pop and it comes out fine.

When I was growing up, popcorn was often used as “dessert.”  I don’t do that any more.  I use it as a snack, either in my kids’ lunches, or a big bag to take in the car or on a plane.

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2 Responses to “Popcorn”

  1. Anthony said

    Cool! So it is actually not the microwave-popcorn right? I usually will buy that type of popcorn and then put it into my microwave. Your way to make home-style popcorn just inspired me and I will give it a try. Do I need to have the same Popper like yours or I can try to find another one?
    Besides, if you want to find more healthy vegan/vegetarian recipes for you kids, just visit the following website:
    http://www.fourgreensteps.com/community/recipes
    Check it out! You’ll like it.

  2. tinako said

    Yes, it’s not microwave popcorn. It makes me chuckle that so many people have lost touch with the “old-fashioned” way of making popcorn. Then you look at what it costs – a big two-pound bag of plain (non-organic) popcorn is $1.60, or $0.17/unpopped half cup, which makes one batch. The same brand of microwave corn is $2.70, or $0.68/unpopped half cup (microwave popcorn makes smaller batches, that is, there’s less than 1/2 c of corn in a bag, but I’m comparing equal amounts of corn here). I can’t find a price on organic bulk but I buy a fun mix of colors out of a bin and it’s not a lot, maybe $2.40 for that same 2 lbs., or $0.27/unpopped half cup. Organic microwave is $2.70, or $1.35/unpopped half cup. All numbers based on Wegmans brand at wegmans.com.

    Microwave popcorn is convenient, good to bring to a hotel or anytime you want a packable snack. And it usually has flavorings we now take for granted; plain salted popcorn is not good enough for many people, now, I find. But I love it. FYI, that Orville Redenbocker site, I think, said microwave popcorn needed more oil to pop.

    Other poppers are probably fine; I’ve used several different types over the years. The Whirley-Pop can make kettle corn, which is pretty neat. It also leaves almost no unpopped kernels and yet I’ve never burned a single piece in many years of use. But you have to crank it for a few minutes; other poppers you can walk away from, and sometimes they have their own bowl. So many people buy the microwave corn now, I don’t even know what poppers are sold any more besides Whirley Pop. I saw a web page about how to make your own microwave popcorn bags. I have a microwave steamer that’s supposed to do it but I think it left a lot unpopped.

    I noticed Italian Dressing Seasoning at your site. That might actually be good on popcorn. Or Tex-Mex or Cajun seasoning. I put on Old Bay Spice sometimes. Not Old Spice!

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