I’ve never really liked popcorn. I know. It’s not a popular sentiment... pardon the pun.
But I recently realized that my perception of popcorn has been marred by years of microwave-based fake butter smells and tastes.
I do remember vaguely a time in my childhood when those air popping machines that blew the popcorn up and out into the bowl were in vogue... they typically spared the humble kernel of the artificial treatment that I find so distasteful. But beyond that, I’ve pretty much been raised around microwave or theater versions... both of which I really find less than appetizing.
From a health standpoint, unadulterated popcorn is actually a very healthful snack. Fiber rich and relatively low-cal, it’s truly a wholesome, natural snack. But it’s often relegated to the “occasional” snack category, simply by the company in keeps.
Because my oldest son is a popcorn lover, I decided to get back to the basics and see if I couldn’t find a way to enjoy popcorn without all the extras. What I discovered is that popping your own corn - real popcorn - on the stove, in a touch of oil and then lightly tossed with real butter and kosher salt is a complete (and welcome) departure from the bagged versions. It’s fresh and light ... and full of popcorn (rather than artificial butter) flavor.
The added bonus: it’s easy and inexpensive. An entire bag of popping corn will likely last this family ‘til the Oscars role around again.
If you’ve never tried popping corn yourself, I highly encourage it. Your microwave won’t get lonely. I promise.
3 Tbsp oil
1/3 cup of popcorn kernels
Salt and melted butter to taste (optional)
Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan on medium high heat. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels in oil and cover with lid. When kernels pop, add the rest of popcorn to pan (make sure kernels are in a single layer).
Cover pan and gently shake pan back and forth over the burner. Keep lid slightly open to let out steam. When popping slows, remove pan from heat and pour popcorn into a large bowl. Toss with butter and salt, if desired.