Last night was one of those nights where I decided the only sane response to the world was to make a ginormous bowl of popcorn with lots of butter and salt, which I ate slowly while reading a trashy novel–in this case, the first Sookie Stackhouse book, Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (which, like Twilight, I am enjoying even though I find the whole idea of a vampire romance novel ridiculous).

Making popcorn in the microwave is a form of self-hatred. Since I don’t own a microwave, it’s also not an option for me. (When I told Jason about my stove breaking the other week, his first response was, “So how do you feel about not having a microwave now that you don’t have a stove?” I will not repeat my response to this, but it was emphatic.) I can only assume it was aggressive marketing that made the default way to make popcorn the microwave, because it may take a minute or two more to make it on the stove, and it is so much better. Here’s what you do:

Step One: Put some oil in the bottom of a pot with a tight-fitting lid. I use canola oil these days, but it’s interesting to try different types of oils, because it can have an impact on the flavor of the popcorn. Corn oil makes some sense. I used peanut oil one time, too, and that was interesting. Anyway, whatever type of oil you use, you want maybe a tablespoon or two. Put a few kernels of unpopped popcorn in the pot, put the lid on, put the pot on medium heat, and wait for the kernels to pop.

Step Two: While you’re waiting for the kernels to pop, put some butter in a second pot on low heat. You can also put a lot of butter in that pot. Depends on how challenging your week has been and whether or not you went to the gym. (In my case, I did go to the gym AND my week had been extremely challenging. There was a lot of butter.)

Step Three: When the kernels from Step One have popped, add some more popcorn, put the lid back on, and put it back on the heat. Be careful with this step. Remember how much this is all going to expand.

Step Four: Shake the pot frequently. You will get an explosion of popping. When it slows down, the popcorn is done. This takes maybe three or four minutes. NEVER WALK AWAY FROM THE STOVE WHEN YOU ARE MAKING POPCORN.

Step Five: Put the popcorn in a very large bowl. Drizzle some of the butter on it, shake on some salt, and then toss the popcorn. Do that again a few times. This ensures that the butter and salt are all the way through, because it is sad to run out of buttery pieces halfway through the bowl.

Step Six: Eat.

OPTIONAL: I went for simple buttered popcorn last night, but there are other things you can add to jazz things up. The best is chocolate chips, semi-sweet or milk chocolate. (If you don’t keep bittersweet, semi-sweet, and milk chocolate chips in your home at all times, I don’t understand how you live.) Sno Caps are fun, but that’s something I do in the theater. The thing about adding chocolate to the mix is that a.) it gets all melty, and b.) you wind up with the magical combination of crunchy and salty and sweet. Delicious. A more grown-up optional addition is grated Parmesan cheese. Whether you’re using the chocolate or the cheese, STILL ADD THE BUTTER. If you want to save calories, just add salt and eat. That’s fine, too.


  1. Posted August 19, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Oh yes, microwave popcorn is all wrong. You forgot step 1 & 1/2, though: Put on the Barenaked Ladies’ “Popcorn” when you are making the popcorn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt6-wqkEcPQ (that’s the only version I can find online). And jump around a lot.

  2. adrienne
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Such a good idea.

  3. momster
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    It has been so long since I’ve made popcorn,I’d forgotten how.And microwave popcorn?Awk!!!Now I’m hungry for some popcorn,though I have to watch calories…Thanks!I’m headin’ out to Wggies as soon as my laundry is done!

  4. adrienne
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I’m hungry for just about anything right now. Must be almost time for lunch…

  5. momster
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I too had a low blood sugar moment,but I ate two plums and some whole wheat pasta and felt good enough to go to Wegmans.Now I have everything I need for popcorn.I just finished listening to “The Help”.It’s that novel that 2011 white girl wrote claiming to have intimate knowledge of the inner thoughts of 1960 southern black girls.It’s pretty much black and white as the whites are pretty much all bad and the blacks–well you know.And now it’s a movie!Folks already want it to get an Academy Award!If it comes to Netflix.I might watch it.I need another book like it for popcorn;-)

  6. adrienne
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I really loved the audio version of The Help. It was all about food, and the narrators were fantastic. Did you get the recording with the three different women reading?

  7. momster
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    The readers were really good.I guess this is a modern Uncle Tom’s Cabin.I strongly prefer African-American writing on African-American life.I love Toni Morrison,for instance.This book seemed very shallow to me on many levels.The exception was the interaction (in terms of power)between the white women.Not one of my favs.I kept listening anyway because the readers were great!The plot became very predictable,hence-comforting like any starchy thing on a rainy day;-).I’ve just downloaded a scifi book called,”Slow River”which won a Nebula and a Lambda so I thought I’d try it out!I also have WWZ,a Steel and Jane Green so as you can see I’m in the mood for light reading:-)It is summer and now I have popcorn after all!!

  8. momster
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Popcorn.Sooooo gooood…..

  9. momster
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I was right there with you on the food–up until the pie,you know the one I’m talking about.Up until then,I was loving the food talk.

  10. Posted August 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    What a yummy post. I confess I do eat microwave popcorn (Paul Newman’s Showtime, red box) from time to time. I also have an electric popper, and a tempered glass bowl with dome to pop corn in the microwave. But I’ve never made it on the stove — you make it sound so delicious I may have to try it that way too.

    Love butter on it, no matter how it’s cooked. :) And it tastes best if eaten while watching the Gilmore Girls.

  11. adrienne
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Jama, Yes, you must try the popcorn on the stove, although if you say these other ways of having popcorn are good, I know they must be. You know food.

  12. Posted August 24, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Yes. Microwave popcorn = self hatred. DEFINITELY. Also: trashy novels whilst eating popcorn = world peace. Or, at least, some version of shutting up all the nonsense voices and ignoring them for awhile.

    ::have unpacked lidded pots. must go find trashy novel::

  13. adrienne
    Posted August 24, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Sometimes I think that since I am a student of Literature, I should be above trashy novels, but I am so not.

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