The record has been skipping lately. Instead of segueing from meal to meal, blithely bopping from track to track, my needle has been sticking on the popcorn groove.
I don’t usually fixate on the same craving for weeks at a time. This is a new one; whether it’s a new wrinkle in seasonal affective disorder, a sign that I’ve finally cracked and sent my tastebuds past the point of no return, or plain and simple laziness remains to be seen.
Or is this my body’s way of asking for more fiber and antioxidants? (If so, my body should consider liking smoothies more.)
Even worse, though there used to be an entire repertoire of popcorn seasonings and flavors through which I’d rotate, now there’s only one way I will accept my bowl of airy, butter-slicked kernels: liberally coated with Parmesan, a pinch of kosher salt, and… oh, it’s almost too embarrassing to admit… McCormick Italian seasoning.
Yes. Really. I don’t even know myself anymore.
Regardless of what you think of my choice of toppings, I do have a steadfast rule: the cheese, herbs, and spices must be applied to real, freshly popped popcorn—never, not ever to a bag of that microwaved styrofoam that passes for food. (Despite her many rumored offenses, I fully agree with former US Weekly editor Bonnie Fuller‘s alleged ban on microwave popcorn. That odor is unforgivable.)
And since we’re on a confessional roll here, I’ll also cop to the fact that there is in fact a unitasker in our home, and that Dan and I are hopelessly addicted to using the Whirley-Pop as our corn-popping hardware of choice. However, it can be done with nothing more than a heavy-bottomed pot, and—better still—you don’t even need to measure anything.
Pour a few glugs of canola or vegetable oil into the bottom of a 3- or 4-quart saucepan or stockpot—just enough to make a 2- to 3-inch pool in the center of the pan. Add enough popcorn kernels to barely coat the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Place the pot over medium heat and shake frequently and gently to heat the oil and kernels. Remove from the burner once the popping sounds slow to a crawl.
Real butter is another must-have for flavoring my popped snackies. Just a tablespoon or two of melted golden goodness will offer up a whole lotta fat for making seasonings stick. And when I’m not stuck in my (seemingly unending) Italian herb rut, I’ll demolish a whole bowl of popcorn tossed with any of the following add-ons:
- Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
- truffle salt
- peppery olive oil
- basil-infused oil
- maple sugar and cheddar powder to make a homemade version of Garrett’s Chicago Mix
- cinnamon sugar (it’s dessert for dinner!)
- malt vinegar sea salt
Add a glass of Vitiano and you’ve got yourself a meal.
Now it’s time for the Good. Food. Stories. faithful to weigh in. What seasonings do you sprinkle on your popcorn?