Popcorn Memories

Popcorn has always been one of my father’s favorites!  My grandmother said that when he came in from the service after being stationed in Germany back in 1958, she asked what he would like to eat and “Popcorn” was the answer!

He would eat popcorn any time my mother or I would make it for him.  Those were the days before it came in a bag for the microwave.  I would add a bit of oil to our biggest lidded pan and some kernels and shake and shake and shake until no more popping was heard.  We then emptied it into the big bowl and melted some butter in the same pan to pour over it.  The aroma was heavenly.

He also loved popcorn and milk, eaten like cereal.  No sugar but salt makes it better (think grits).  I was raised with this dish and never knew it was unusual until I had grown and moved away.  When there was leftover popcorn or my mother was ill, he would cherish this as a meal.  When I checked into it, I found that it was an old idea and is even described in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy.

I remember popping several pans full when we would get a group to go to the drive-in movies.  It would all go into a brown paper bag and the butter was poured over top and then we shook it to cover every kernel.

We grew it in the acre garden when I was a teenager.  It was a novelty but really took a lot of trial and error because you have to get it to dry perfectly and the only way to know if it was dry was to heat it and see.  Much of it went to waste in our experiments.  I understand that you can microwave the corn still on the cob and some companies sell it that way.  We also popped corn in a metal mesh box thing with a handle in the old “Ben Franklin” wood stove.

I remember the Christmas my grandmother introduced us to the art of making popcorn balls.  That was a real treat but it was difficult to not get burnt getting the syrup and corn cool enough to handle and yet warm enough to make balls.

Real popping corn is very inexpensive and has a shelf life of 2 years.  Knowing this, I don’t think I will be adding popcorn seeds to the garden but I definitely have some in our food storage.  You want to keep it dry, dark and cool.  Don’t put it in the fridge or freezer because it can dry out and not pop.  It is the moisture inside that causes the explosion, after all.  Do, please share real popcorn with the young people in your life.  They should know what the honest-to-goodness popped corn is all about.




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1 Comment on "Popcorn Memories"

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  1. Susan says:

    A while ago I was purchasing some regular popcorn that wason sale at Walgreens. The young man who was ringing me up asked if I had a machine to pop it. I responded, “Yes, it’s called a pot and stove” He didn’t understand. So sad.

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