Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pop it

I love popcorn. It's becoming one of my number one treats. I used to love it as a teenager too, but gave it up for one reason or another, be it diet or poverty. But I've re-discovered my love of popcorn, and what an amazing difference in the microwave varieties there is now. I remember those bags that only half of the kernels popped and were coated in grease. My friend and I would fight over the half-popped kernels because they were the best and we'd both be tough, crunching our halfpops loudly between our teeth. Smug in fashion and boasting each of us had the better kernel. It was game on in the popcorn arena.

Once, I was rushing about trying to catch up on the new storylines of General Hospital when I flung a popcorn bag in the microwave, but didn't pay attention the buttons I was pushing. I ended up burning it. the popcorn on the outer edges of the bag were ok, and the middle was charcoal. But it's the small layer in between that caught my attention. Now, I ate as much of that bag as I could, because waste of popcorn is not allowed. I discovered the perfect pieces of popcorn were the ones that were ever-so-slightly burnt, with just a tinge of char, a whisper of black over the crispy white mounds of corn. That was awesome popcorn.

It's like how the perfect toasted marshmallow is just brown and shiny, not black, but melted in the middle enough to be soft, but not melted to the stick so you end up pulling bits of bark off with it. It's a exercise in precision. So I've spent some time trying to find the precision with which to get a perfect bag of almost burnt popcorn. It's taken me a while, several years of research and many, many bags of charred snacks that set of fire alarms and got me scolded by parents and dormitory PAs. But I have found the secret.

See, it is a lesson in patience and attention. Ten seconds too long and it's all ruined, ten seconds too short and it's just a normal bag of popcorn. But put that bag in for two minutes and forty seconds and you get the perfection in the middle. Two minutes and forty seconds. Ten seconds longer is being greedy and over burns the middle bits, and I've had to learn that you can't play with the times too much - this is popcorn not chili. I have a 850watt microwave and the times works for both salt and sweet bags. For some reason buttered are never able to get a good burn on them, they may be just too greasy; which goes some to explaining the many failures I suffered in my youth. It's amazing what time, flavor technology, geneticlly engineered corn and patience can bring you when a dream is trying to be achieved.

I've also discovered the absolute best popcorn is Orville Redenbacher's Salt and Sweet. It's just awesome. It hits all the oral g-spots and the second it's swallowed you'll be cramming another handful into your mouth: it's that good. I've found it once, at Tesco about two weeks ago, have I found it again since? No! Can I find it on their website? No! Am I freaking the fuck out about it YES! I'm going to see if it's at Costco this weekend, because I've made due with mixing a bag of Butterkist salt with another of bag of just sweet, but it's not the same. Orville's got it best, the teasing bastard.

So there you are, the best popcorn, the best method and mouth joy guaranteed. Unless you're one of those pusspies who won't eat popcorn because it gets stuck in your teeth, because I find that all part of the charm, myself. An extra popcorn surprise that shows up when you least expect it. You can keep your bloody gums and dentistry nightmare stories to yourselves too. I'll only reply with: Two minutes and forty seconds.


Chunks said...

I try to avoid the popcorn, not because of my teeth but because I always have the most BIZARRE dreams when I eat it! When I can't help myself, I'm always a little afraid to fall asleep. It must be hard to digest or something.

Lyvvie said...

How cool is that!! I love weird dreams, I consider that an excellent reason to consume copious amounts of the Kernel Kings. I think popcorn is a very simple carbohydrate that should be easy to digest, and it has all that fiber. Maybe it's an interesting allergy??

Maja said...

mmm I love fresh popcorn, especially the slightly overcooked stuff :)

Chill Daddy said...

I have nothing interesting to contribute with regards to popcorn. Perhaps I won't even comment.

Rod said...

popcorn doesn't agree with me... i love it but it makes the gall bladder scream for mercy

Manblogger641 said...

I like movie theater popcorn with EXTRA BUTTER!!! YUM