I have re-written this post several times and it still doesn't flow well. Ah, the joys of blogging.
Popcorn. Almost everybody likes it. And, somehow, in about 25 years, everyone went from either making it on the stove or air-popping it to using the microwave. And they don't remember what they are missing.
I was born before microwaves were common in every house (I imagine that will sound similarly bizarre to future generations as my mother growing up without a color television). Growing up, my mom always used to make popcorn on the stove. Mom had a particular pot that she always used to make popcorn because it always made perfect popcorn--no burnt or unpopped kernels. She had misplaced it for years (we never made popcorn so it wasn't in high demand) but found it when I told her I needed to make non-microwaved popcorn (for popcorn balls--microwave popcorn is too fragile). In the years since I had almost completely forgotten how amazing stove-top (or air-popped) popcorn was compared to microwave. It has a completely different texture.
The method used in TJOC's Popcorn (p. 71) recipe really is amazing.
I placed three kernels of popcorn in some vegetable oil and waited for them to pop:
When they popped (right out of the pan and on to the floor, much to my dog's delight), I added the popcorn and covered the pot (the actual lid that fits the pot is apparently long gone):
In less than a minute, the popcorn was done!
Perfect for a night of watching "White Nights" (don't judge me, I love ballet movies). Because the popcorn oil is hot before you add the rest of the kernels, none of the popcorn burns. Perfect popcorn and done in less than a minute, which is even quicker than microwave popcorn. Because the popcorn is stronger, you can melt real butter and the popcorn doesn't get soggy! And if you just salt it (and don't add butter) it's tasty and extremely low-fat. Diet food! Assuming you aren't on the Adkin's Diet.
I decided to take TJOC's advice and add Savory additions to popcorn (p. 71). I sprinkled Parmesan cheese and a little ground red pepper on the top:
So delicious! The Parmesan cheese gave the popcorn a nice saltiness and the red pepper gave it a kick. I will have to experiment with other toppings--I like the idea of savory toppings.