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.