Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Answer to Everything is Popcorn


Want to give the kids a snack at playdate?

Don’t know what to take to the party, any party?

Don’t feel like cooking or going out?
Want to stock a local, cheap, healthy snack?

Need to send a snack to school for a class party?

Want to please a group of picky eaters?

Invite friends over at the last minute on Sunday evening? Add apples and cheese and call it a party. Dig around for some pickles or frozen cookies to add to the fun.

Need a cheap snack to keep on hand for lunches that your husband won’t eat in his nightly snack prowl? (He’s not going to go to the bother actually making the popcorn for himself, you know - he's not that hungry).

Wouldn't you agree that the answer to everything is popcorn?  Those scenarios I listed are all ones that are true for me.  Maybe you have a different answer - do share, please!


Lisa said...

Oh, I agree! But what I would like are some "recipes" of different things to add to it.

Rebecca said...

Do I want something salty and crunchy AND the moral superiority of not downing an entire bag of chips in one sitting - which I'm entirely capable of doing?

As for add-ins, I like Old Bay ( a mid-atlantic seafood seasoning) but for regular consumption I go to the uproar of ordering Diamond extra-fine nut and popcorn salt from Amazon. Our store only stocks fiddly little jars and that just won't do.

My popcorn life was revolutionized when I discovered adding the salt WITH the popcorn and oil. Every kernel gets covered.

AmyK said...

Yes! We love popcorn. My almost 3-year old can make it himself with our air popper, so it's a great way to have him really help in the kitchen.

I also have fond memories of my mom serving a snack of popcorn and home-canned grape juice when we would have company in the evenings.

Unknown said...

Pretzles, the big thick crunchy ones. Celery and peanut butter with raisens too :)

Hazel said...

Popcorn still isn't as ubiquitous in the UK as in the States but I'm trying to use it more for snacks and lunchboxes because I know what's in it and to avoid waste from shop bought snacks.

I heard of 2 savoury toppings I fancy trying recently- Amanda Soule's Bacon popcorn http://www.soulemama.com/soulemama/2013/02/a-year-of-popcorn-breakfast-popcorn.html and a TexMex mix- zest 2 limes and pound (in a pestle and mortar if you have one) with salt, garlic salt and chili powder to taste. Toss in with the popcorn- I think that would go well with cold beers!

Our treat topping is Miriam's toffee popcorn (Miriam was one of my flatmates when I was a student). Melt together equal parts of sugar, golden syrup, butter and wine or cider vinegar. Stir in popcorn and try not to eat it all before it's cooled... It goes a long way- we find about a tbsp of each is enough.
I think golden syrup is peculiarly British- if you can't get it I'm not sure what the best substitute is. It's from sugar cane, so no idea if corn syrup would work. Maybe honey?

My son especially will also demolish popcorn and milk, like eating cereal. It started with the experiment in Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but actually I'd rather he ate that than 'proper' cereal!

jenny_o said...

You are making me hungry :)

Does anyone have a tip for storing popcorn for later eating? I can't figure out how to package it so it doesn't get tough.

Margo said...

Rebecca, I tried adding the salt with the oil, but I didn't think it made much difference - maybe I wasn't doing it right?

Hazel, I love all three of the flavor options you mentioned (and I pinned a dill pickle popcorn recipe recently, too!).

As for the golden syrup, that is really a British thing, but don't worry: I have Lyle's :) I read enough Jane Brocket to want it, and I also make ANZAC Biscuits from New Zealand.

So I should mix up the syrup using a Tbsp. of each thing, and then add approximately how much popped popcorn?

Margo said...

Jenny-o, I allow it to cool and then put it in an air-tight container. We like it just fine, but some people only like their popcorn fresh.

jenny_o said...

Thanks, Margo. I'll give that a try.

Anonymous said...

Hazel, how odd. I went into Sainsburys looking for popping corn two days ago, and they looked at me like I was nuts. Where do you buy yours? Asda? I am in Scotland. Xx

Hazel said...

Margot- Dill pickle popcorn sounds delicious- I'll go and have a look for that.
Glad you can get Lyles- my friend has just moved to Germany where they don't sell it, which means she can't make flapjack, which is dreadful!
I think it probably does about as much as Ben is holding in the picture. If you make too much I should think the topping would keep a while in the fridge, just warm it before topping the next batch.

Anon- I do get mine in Sainsbury's (Oxfordshire) but I do have to search it out each time. The first person always points me towards the Butterkist. I'm thinking of buying it in bulk from ebay or somewhere.

Margo said...

Hazel, I would love to know what flapjack is. Here, that's kind of an old-fashioned word for pancakes, but I have a feeling it means something different to you.

Margo said...

Nancy, I do buy pretzels, but they never last very long at our house because of my husband's snacking. He's not hungry enough to actually pop the popcorn, so I can manage to keep that in stock :)

BLD in MT said...

That is so true! I like all the suggestions you list. We also have found it great to pack (in a brown paper sack) on road trips. It provides the salty, crunchy snack we crave and saves us from the temptation of stopping at the convenience store for chips or some processed thing.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Pop corn ...the perfect snack for everyone. We keep it at our house all the time.. Yummy.

Hazel said...

Margo, you're right. British flapjacks are always made with oats, sugar, butter and something sticky. I love them because they are much quicker to make than cake or biscuits and they do at least have oats in them (and I often add dried fruit and/or seeds).
I tried lots of versions but eventually asked the friend who now lives in Germany for hers, as her flapjacks were so nice. I think her recipe was originally from her childhood Winnie-the-Pooh cookery book.
Melt 250g/8oz butter with the same amount of soft brown sugar and 4 tbsp of golden syrup. When combined remove from the heat and stir in 500g/16oz porridge oats. At this point I often add a handful or 2 of raisins, sunflower, sesame or linseeds or a handful of chopped dried apricots and some coarsely grated fresh ginger (about 1/2" maybe? To taste, anyway- I try a bit of the mixture to see if it's gingery enough).
Scrape the mixture into a brownie-sized tray (mine is approx 12" x 10") and bake at 180C/350F for about 15 minutes. We like crunchy edges, so I sometimes leave it in a couple of minutes longer.
Another variation is to cook apple chunks along with the buttery syrup mix or adding sliced banana with the oats, but we usually stick to seeds or dried fruit.

This is very popular here- hope it's not fruitcake all over again...!

Polly said...

I love this post. I adore popcorn. I have never made it on the stovetop. (True story!)

BUT I have a 'recipe' for some that I want to try soon, and by 'recipe' I mean it involves coconut oil, sea salt and parm cheese. It sounds delicious! Surely I don't need a whirly-popper-right--do you just heat it in the pot and shake it up? I think that's how my mother did it!

Margo said...

Polly, I just watched my mom make it, so I don't have a recipe with amounts. Here is what I do: pour oil in a heavy pan (I use my cast-iron Dutch oven), a few tablespoons maybe? enough to lightly coat the bottom. Add popcorn to cover the bottom in a single layer ( 1/3 cup?? depends on the size of the pot). Stir over high heat for a few minutes with the lid ready until the first few kernels pop. Clap the lid on, still on high heat. Shake a few times. When popping is done, turn off the heat and immediately pour the popcorn in a bowl and put on salt, stirring. I add powdered nutritional yeast, too. Let me know how it turns out!!

Also, we think white popcorn has more flavor.

Popcornopolis said...

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