Thursday, September 6, 2007

How To Make Popcorn

September 6, 2007

If you're worried that the popcorn you're accustomed to may be saturating your air with the harmful compound called diacetyl (added to impart the flavor of butter), I have a simple suggestion.

Popcorn is as easy to make as anything you can do, and it's fun too. Here's how to do it.

Buy a can of unpopped popcorn. Pour about a tablespoon of unflavored oil -- canola is the least harmful -- into a saucepan and turn the heat to medium beneath it. Then pour about 1/4 cup of popcorn into the simmering oil and put a lid on the pot.

Soon you'll hear the delightful sound of pops, one at a time, from the pot. Old directions suggested you start shaking the pan, but this is really not necessary. It adds to the fun, however, and makes you feel a part of the process. Those accustomed to using microwave popcorn will not miss feeling part of the process, but you might try it if you're a pro-active kind of person.

Turn the heat to low and keep it on until the pops slow from a crescendo of activity to a gentle, occasional pop, pop, pop. Then immediately remove from the heat until the pops stop altogether. You may then remove the lid, pour in a tablespoon or two of melted butter (yes!), and add some salt. Toss well. One or two kernels may still have a pop in them; that's part of the fun.

You will have a nice pot of delicious popcorn, probably three or four cups full. And you will have had fun too. And you won't be poisoning yourself or anybody else.

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