Monday, February 22, 2016

Old Fashioned Popcorn

Years ago, back when our children were little, gas was cheap, and the internet was in its infancy, we started a Sunday night tradition called "popcorn for supper."

Our daughter's friend was aghast. Her seven-year-old mind couldn't fathom a supper made entirely of popcorn!

But it was one tradition I loved. Here's why:

1. A simple, pre-planned supper allowed me to rest on Sunday afternoon. If you've ever been a mom with multiple littles, you know how necessary that is to your health (mental and otherwise!)

2. Traditions are important. It doesn't matter what you do for your family's traditions, but it is important that you have them. They lend a framework of order to an otherwise chaotic world!

3. I love popcorn. :)

Back then, we had a "Whirley Pop" popcorn maker. If you've never heard of one of these sweet inventions, here's a demo I found on YouTube:

I would make a huge bowl of popcorn and everyone would season their own. We used garlic powder, seasoning salt, cinnamon and sugar, Parmesan cheese - you name it!

Fast forward a few years...

As the children got older, this tradition fell to the wayside for several reasons. We went to a church that had a Sunday evening service and Youth Group, so our Sunday evenings became busier. Our financial situation changed, and we could afford to buy microwave popcorn (yum! and even easier than the Whirley-Pop!). The Whirley-Pop didn't make one of the moves with us, and eventually, popcorn became a once-in-a-while treat for movie night.

Fast forward a few more years...

As my dear husband and I get older, our popcorn has to change. The doctor says DH needs to keep tabs on his sodium intake.

Have you read the labels on microwave popcorn?????

So when the popcorn craving hit on Sunday evening, I brought out the trusty saucepan, oil and popcorn, and made a batch of popcorn the way Dad used to make it when I was little.

We had this popcorn that I hadn't tried yet - after all, we've been using the microwave to make our popcorn for years now!

I put some oil in the saucepan (I used about a tablespoon of coconut oil and a teaspoon of butter). Once it melted (on medium-high heat), I added 1/3 cup popcorn kernels.

And you wait. Shake the pan occasionally as the popcorn is heating. You don't want the kernels to burn.

Soon you'll hear a pop...then another one...then it's all popping at once! That's when people start wandering into the kitchen to see what you're doing. :)

Once the popping slows down (yes, just like with microwave popcorn), remove the pan from the heat. Wait for the popping to stop, and carefully lift the lid. You may still find that one more kernel still wants to explode!

Pour the popcorn in a bowl, and enjoy! I seasoned mine with a bit of salt, but DH left his plain. The bit of butter I used gave the popcorn enough flavor to make it scrumptious.

How do you make your popcorn? And how do you like it seasoned?

Are you a "movie theater popcorn with six pumps of melted butter" type, or do you like the air popper?

By the way, have you noticed that air poppers are making a comeback? Everything old is new again!

You can buy this little guy on Amazon. Click here to go there.


  1. Oh, we've had all of those contraptions!!!!! The hot air popper was for the nights I was working and the kids were here on their own.... I figured less chance of burning the house down.

    But we make it this same way, Jan! On the stove, I have a Revere Ware kettle ( a few dings don't hurt!) and it's my fave for popcorn! And real butter.... and a huge bowl... and the after school kids love it because I give them plenty of butter and salt!


    1. Those healthy young bodies can take the butter and salt! And there's nothing like popcorn with real butter. :)'s better with butter. That's my new slogan.

  2. Popcorn Sunday!!! Love it!!! I wish you had told me, I would have let you adopt me.

    1. Tina, I would have adopted you. Or at least made sure you were my next door neighbor!

  3. Love the idea of popcorn Sunday. I used to do breakfast dinners on Sunday. My daughter loved it and never knew that it was a cost-saving measure on my part. She still gravitates towards a breakfast supper when she wants comfort food. :-)

    I don't make popcorn....Haven't had it in years and years and years and years. When my daughter was growing up I used the air popper method. I'm chicken using hot oil on a stovetop.

    Way off topic but....I have a pastry question. I made your pie crust recipe and it's delish BUT mine really shrinks -- a lot. I made a lemon meringue pie for company on the weekend...wait that reads strange I wasn't keeping company with the pie I was feeding pie to my company. LOL Anyhow -- even though I left the dough hanging over the side of the pie pan, it shrunk way down...a good half inch I'd say. I barely had enough coverage to contain the lemon filling. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Pastry shrinkage. It sounds like you stretched your pie crust when you put it into the pan. Easy to do! But as the crust bakes, it shrinks back into its rolled out size.

      The trick is to ease it into the pan. Once you've placed it into the pan, gently lift the edges and ease the crust into the bottom and up the sides. Keep it loose.

      And you'll have to try popcorn on the stove. You don't use very much oil. Be sure to watch it, and don't let the heat go higher than medium high (6 on my stove!). And popcorn is one of the healthiest, cheapest snacks I know of!

    2. Ah......I was kind of heavy handed trying to fit the pastry around the pie plate. Who knew I had to be so gentle? I'll give it a try next time. Thanks for the tip.

      And hot oil still scares me. LOL

  4. What fun! I've used every method. Our growing up method was Jiffy Pop! Do you remember that?? Over the stovetop or even in the fireplace? :)

    Then we went to popping in a pan with oil. Then air popping. Then when my kids were little I had a microwave popper that you bought paper liners for and just used your own oil. Then on to store-bought microwave (light version).

    Now with my stomach stuff I can't really eat it anymore. I miss it!

    I love family traditions. :)

    1. Missy, I so remember Jiffy Pop. That was the best tasting popcorn one could make at home until microwave popcorn came along. I remember picking up some Jiffy Pop when my boys were little so they could experience the ever-growing foil puff. I made it, but it just wasn't as good as I remembered. Must have been the type of oil they used, because whatever it was seemed to coat my mouth. That was our last Jiffy Pop. :P

    2. We used to make Jiffy Pop for a once in a while treat while camping! Loved it!

      But I'm sure Mindy is right - they probably changed the kind of oil they used.

      Too bad about not being able to eat popcorn, Missy! Are you able to eat that delicious substitute, "Puffcorn"? No hulls - just puffed, something. I'm sure it's horrible for your health, but so tasty. :)

    3. I think with Jiffy Pop the thrill of the pop was what I enjoyed. I don't even remember the taste. LOL

      Jan, I'll look for that! The hull is the only problem.

  5. Oh, Jan... This could be dangerous. I'm a popcorn junkie. We used to eat it all the time. Now we rarely have it because, mostly because if it's in the house, I will eat it. I never know when to stop. So if I do decide to have it, it's usually out somewhere. The movies or an event. I remember the old Walmarts used to have a snack bar right by the front door. I couldn't walk into a Walmart without first stopping to get a bag of popcorn. The aroma grabbed me as soon as I walked in the door.

    As for making popcorn, I've done all those things except for the Whirly Pop. Stove top and air popped. Then along came microwave popcorn and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Best tasting stuff I'd ever had at home. Which is why I had to stop buying it. Sure those 100 calorie bags are small, however, if the person eating the popcorn (me) knows there are more bags in the pantry, well...

    Still, I love the tradition. My mom only made one meal on Sundays, so Sunday nights was usually popcorn or snacks. I still kind of do that, unless there's something I just want to cook.

    1. Another no-cook Sunday Mom! We should form a club ;)

      I don't eat as much popcorn as I used to, but sometimes I get a craving. The disadvantage to microwave is that it's so easy, and you can't control the ingredients. When you make it on the stove, you can control the amount and kind of oil, the amount of salt, etc.

      And I can just see you wandering around Walmart with a bag of popcorn perched in your cart!

  6. Oh, Jan, the labels on many microwave popcorns can be downright scary. Popcorn tradition -- the local bank has an old, movie-house popcorn popper. They give away free sacks of (butter-free) popcorn every Friday. Boy does the town square smell good on Friday :-)

    Nancy C

    1. Free popcorn? That sounds fabulous! And I love the freshly popped corn from those big poppers. I used to work at one of those pretzel places at the mall, and we had popcorn, too. I loved making a fresh batch right around 6:00 on a busy Saturday - people flocked to our store. :)

  7. Hi Jan, I vaguely remember us having one of those popcorn poppers with the long handle that you popped in the fireplace.

    We made the switch to microwave popcorn for a while. It did awful things to my mid-section. I'd get home from a long day at a desk (I was working in a law firm then) and have popcorn and soda while I wrote. Ooops.

    These days if I indulge it.s Skinny Pop. It actually tastes really good. Not like home made, but good and low calorie and low salt.

    1. I've never used one of those fireplace poppers. Now we're really talking nostalgia. :)

      You're definitely right about the midsection. We writers need to be aware of such things!

  8. You can't imagine how relieved I was to quickly bypass the crab and find popcorn here at the cafe!!! I came by to catch up and saw those waving crab legs... ugh! I know they're considered a delicacy, but my hubby is allergic to shellfish so not only haven't we ever developed a taste for shrimp, prawns, crabs, lobster, etc., I've come up with quite an aversion to them!

    But popcorn??? I adore it! If I had to pick just one food to live on while stranded on a deserted island it would likely be popcorn. LOL. I would never have thought to eat it for supper, though, until the year my hubby took on a job that required periods of travelling, and at home my younger daughter and I would occasionally decide to "goof off" on supper prep for the two of us.

    We have an hot air popper in the cupboard right above the stove and it's my favourite, liberally drizzled with butter, but I admit to using a lot of microwave popcorn because it's so quick and easy. Of course, when we're at our summer cabin there's no electricity for either, so it's back to hot oil in a pot on the woodstove. There's no wrong method, is there?