Monday, December 03, 2007

What a Cook Wants, III

Popcorn That Tastes As Good As That Scratch 'n Sniff Sticker Smelled
In the 5th grade my favorite scratch 'n sniff sticker was the "Poppin' Good"~ it smelled fresh like toasty corn with a subtle buttery note. At the time I didn't understand the scent was high-tech food chemistry at its (frightening) finest, I just wanted MY popcorn to smell and taste as good. This was at the peak of microwave popcorn madness; it smelled tempting, but ultimately any corn taste was drowned out with those heart attack-oils that weren't very buttery. sigh We also had an air popper, which produced popcorn about as flavorful as stale cardboard. It took nearly a stick of melted butter to properly coat one big bowl's worth, which today in my healthy-wellness LA lifestyle is not generally a viable option. double sigh

But fear not, dear reader! I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people who have $25. For unto you this day, from the wise folks at Wabash Valley Farms, a Whirley Pop popcorn popper is now available in red!
My sister Jen sent me one of these years ago and it enjoys primo shelf space in my postage stamp kitchen. A spoonful of oil and couple handfuls of kernels makes a big bowl of crisp, fragrant popcorn. Turning the crank on the stovetop as the corn explodes is undeniably fun and goes pretty quick. There's enough oil evenly distributed that the salt sticks quite well, and you can even skip the butter without having that dreadful cardboard experience.
When I was quite small and my family lived on a limited budget we made garlands of popcorn and cranberries with a needle and thread to decorate our Christmas tree, which I would surreptitiosly nibble whenever I needed a snack. I would dance around the twinkly-lit living room with my doll Samantha to the Alvin and the Chipmunks 45 record, chewing tough dry popcorn. And I was happy.
Which is a long way of saying, Who doesn't want popcorn for Christmas?
$25 for a red, 6-qt. popper that comes with a wooden handle and crank, plus a 25 year warranty.

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