Today’s Feature For Friday is again about food. A snack food that has been compared to social media. I suppose it’s true; the more generous you are with it, the more people you attract.
Popcorn. Do you think of
a) Jiffy Pop
e) All of the above
When popcorn pops, it creates not just a sound in the ear, but an aroma in the nose. The unique treat in your hand belies the soft crunch you’re about to feel between your teeth (and the nasty hulls stuck there later on). Popcorn is a sensual experience only the eater can describe.
I come from the era of Jiffy Pop, but my family could neither afford it nor would one package have fed our large family. We popped our kernels from a bag the old fashioned way.
f) In a pan on top of the stove
My earliest association of popcorn involves Mom serving up the surprise, usually on a Saturday night. The seven of us–Dad and we six kids–would be sitting in the living room watching TV when, all of a sudden, “It” would begin.
Pop! Pop! Pop! POP-POP-POP! POP-POP-POP-POPPITY-POP! An unmistakable sound, those kernels hitting the lid of a pan. Mom couldn’t hide now what she was up to. And inevitably, one of us would hurry to the kitchen to confirm and report back, “We’re having popcorn!”
By then, the aroma of those tiny popping kernels wafted through the house; we needed no one to tell us. Imagine six kids full of anticipation for a rare treat. Then Mom came first with a bowl for Dad and, in turns, a bowl for each of us children. She’d give the popping another go because one pan didn’t feed everyone.
I confess that I can eat popcorn until it’s coming out of my ears (pun intended). At a movie theater, I’ve actually had friends with whom I’m attending keep tabs on me. Or talk me down from the ledge of even getting in line to purchase a bushel basket of it.
Whew, I just walk in the door and I’m a theater popcorn junkie. How can those youngsters at the concession stand possibly feel good about trafficking refills for a paltry fifty cents (or whatever the going rate is now)? Dripping with butter, for me, it’s a cross between Mom’s love served in a bowl and Paula Dean’s favorite recipe.*
Now, just in time for my blog post–I’ve wanted to write about popcorn for a couple weeks–the New York Times publishes an article about scientists “discovering” the mechanics of popcorn popping. Is this really news? Did no one ever figure this out before?
As if the average kid about to get a bowl of air-popped, Jiffy Popped, microwaved, or theater popcorn cared. **
At heart, I’m a kid when it comes to popcorn. It reminds me of sitting with my sibs and the folks watching the boob tube. That truly felt like family time. I didn’t need bowl after bowl of it to enjoy it. I didn’t need the buttery-flavored junk on top or the special toppings they offer these days. It didn’t have to come quickly like microwaved popcorn.
The sound and the scent were enough. And Mom knowing just when it was a good night to treat us. That’s another sensual experience, I suppose. One that evokes pleasure in my heart.
Somewhere, kids must still be sitting in living rooms listening to the poppity-pop out in the kitchen while Mom prepares to serve up a little fun and love. I know this because I see that popcorn can still be found in kernel form on supermarket shelves; the kind you have to pop without a microwave.
Why not pick up some popcorn–your choice–this weekend and enjoy the treat with your family? Don’t forget the dental floss.
*I realize that’s not real butter, only some buttery-flavored concoction but still…
** Actually, my geeky grandson would probably love to study the principles of corn popping.