Monday, December 5, 2011


I think my favourite thing to cook is popcorn.

The first person I ever saw cook popcorn was my Uncle Charles. My Uncle Charles was from Cape Cod. He met my aunt while he was in Invercargil flying aeroplanes. My aunt was working as a dentist's receptionist. My Uncle was one of the only Americans I ever met as a child - I thought he was a rock star. He was an air traffic controller by the time I knew him. He'd had lymphoma. They'd given him six weeks to live and he lived for another 18 years but they wouldn't let him fly any more. He worked shifts so most of my interaction with him was keeping quiet while he slept during the day. One afternoon, when I came into the kitchen at my cousin's house he wasn't asleep. He had a saucepan on the stove and was holding the lid down. I asked him what he was cooking. 'I've got some rats in here,' he said. 'They'll get hot soon and start trying to get out.' I was pretty sure he was lying but I wanted to hear those rats freaking out more than anything, so I stuck around. I can't remember what that popcorn tasted like but I remember the noise it made and think I fell in love with making it then.

A couple of years ago, I really wanted an air popper. I went on and on about it. 'I want a popcorn maker.' I would say until one day Brent said, 'You have one,' and he handed me a saucepan. I'm really glad I didn't buy automagical popcorn make because I love popping corn so much. We have glass lids on our saucepans and I love watching the corn explode.

My friend Keith (he of the premium bread-making skills) taught me a new way to make popcorn which is working really well. He puts the oil in the saucepan and one kernel. When that kernel pops he puts in the rest of the popcorn he wants to cook. It works really well. The first time I did it some of corn popped out of the saucepan before I could get the lid back on - which was awesome! Keith's method means almost no unpopped kernels and no burnt popcorn.

Things we put on popcorn:

Icing sugar
Smoked paprika
Kelp powder with ground up toasted sesame seeds
Yeast flakes
Maple syrup
Chili powder and lime juice

I just found this recipe for Agave Popcorn Balls over at Gluten-Free Soy-Free Vegan. I've never made them but they look like fun. After all, it is the season for outlandish sweet things!

Image: Whitecap Fluff CC licensed by Flickr user ckschleg