Char is a creative writer, artist, and inventor—in and out of the kitchen.
My Popcorn Memories
Selecting a bag of popcorn is a large task since there are many types. We have lived through our parents making popcorn for us as kids. It started with a large saucepan, a bunch of oil, and some popcorn. Dad would heat up the oil and a couple of kernels, and when they'd pop, he'd add a cup of dry corn kernels. As they popped and filled the pan, he'd open the lid and pour the popped corn out and continue shaking his pan. He'd pop for a few seconds, then pour off the popped corn again.
There is a trick to doing that since if you don't pour off your popped pieces, they will scorch and burn; you'll then have to start over with a fresh batch. It is important that your oil does not sit with no kernels since it would start to smoke and you'd have to start over.
It was truly a process.
The process hasn't changed much, but the container that we use is the West Bend Stir Crazy, which amounts to a bowl inverted over a pan with a stick. The stick revolves and moves the kernels of unpopped corn and keeps them from sticking in one spot.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 5 kernels un popped popcorn
- 1/3 cup un popped popcorn
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1 capful butter flavored seasoning
- Add 1/3 cup of oil to the popper and five kernels of popcorn. Let the popper pop these kernels.
- Add 1/3 cup of unpopped kernels to the popper and let pop.
- Done popping? Unplug the unit and turn it over, dumping popcorn into the cover or bowl.
- Move to a large bowl and add salt, butter, and toppings as desired.
How Our Stir Crazy Works Best
We start by selecting medium hull-less popcorn. It's easier that way. They somehow remove the hulls from the popcorn, so that when it pops up, there aren't a bunch of round hull pieces that stick to the inside of your mouth. Hopefully, for the most part, you are eating just the white popcorn.
True, it isn't foolproof. You may end up with a hull or two in your bowl, but it's few and far between.
We place about a third of a cup of oil in our popper and add five kernels of popcorn to the bowl. We put the Stir Crazy cover on and plug in the unit. This starts the process of the metal wand going around in circles.
What Is Popcorn, Exactly?
Popcorn is a small kernel of dried corn. The moisture content of dried corn is at a certain percentage, enough so that there is still a slight amount of water in the kernel. This water, when heated with oil, starts to boil and steam and the kernel actually blows up with the steam.
That's when you see the white popcorn.
The Oil and the Five Kernels
As the oil heats up and the wand stirs those five kernels around, you can see the oil starting to bubble around each kernel.
As they heat, I have a 1/3 cup measuring cup full of more kernels ready to pour into the Stir Crazy. Once those five kernels turn into white, puffy pieces of popcorn, I open the top and pour the additional kernels into the popper and then I replace the cover.
As the wand stirs the new kernels around, the oil bubbles around each kernel, and suddenly, the kernels will start to pop. As they pop, they sit on top of the unpopped kernels. There is no need to dump any popped corn out since they are all going to pop at pretty much the same pace. When the popper stops making popping noises, it is time to unplug it and turn the popper upside down.
The popcorn will collect in the clear plastic bowl. Then, you move those popped corn kernels to a regular bowl.
After you move the popcorn to its final bowl, you will then add the final toppings. If you prefer to eat popcorn with nothing added, it's ready to eat.
We prefer to add a couple of shakes of salt and a quarter cup of melted butter to our popcorn before we eat it.
My preference is to add a capful of specialized butter-flavored popcorn seasoning, so my bowl of popcorn has a flavored salt.