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Time to Pop Up Something Fun

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Popcorn is a perfect treat on cold winter nights when you snuggle up in front of a movie or good book for the evening. But why grab a microwave bag when you can make a treat that tastes so much better.

Recipe: Black Truffled Popcorn

Popcorn popped the old-fashioned way in a skillet surpasses the flavor of any microwave brand. You can also add your own flavors, from chocolate to truffle butter.

It’s easy to do.

I remember Mom tossing some oil in her Dutch oven, adding the kernels and shaking it up a bit before the whole batch was done. The end result was perfect popcorn every time. For a variation on this simple technique, click here.

We always ate ours with a little salt and maybe a sprinkling of cayenne pepper back then. Occasionally some butter, but Mom didn’t like cleaning up after all the sticky fingers.

Recipe: Caramel Corn Clusters

I wondered what happened to that flavor when air-popped popcorn became all the rage in the 1990s. Without the oil, there really is no flavor. But the popcorn from that machine was even worse. Nothing would stick to it. Salt, Parmesan cheese, pepper – you name it, it fell off the kernels. It was like a free-form rice cake that hasn’t been doused in a seasoning designed to cover its dullness.

Microwave popcorn may be easy, but it tastes, well,  lazy and processed. Now there are concerns about health issues related to it. (Click here for more.) All of which should lead you back to the original, which remains the best there is.

History tells us that corn came from the New World, but no one knows when the practice of popping it began. Yet, according to the Popcorn Board, popcorn was used for eating as well as decorating long before the Spaniards arrived. Here are a couple of facts from

  • “Popcorn was integral to early 16th century Aztec Indian ceremonies. Bernardino de Sahagun writes: ‘And also a number of young women danced, having so vowed, a popcorn dance. As thick as tassels of maize were their popcorn garlands. And these they placed upon (the girls’) heads.’
  • “In 1519, Cortes got his first sight of popcorn when he invaded Mexico and came into contact with the Aztecs. Popcorn was an important food for the Aztec Indians, who also used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods, including Tlaloc, the god of rain and fertility.”
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