Put this down as reason #10,844 why I love the Internets.
Reason #10,843, in case you were wondering, is this phenomenal Skoda ad, where we see a life-size car, complete with engine, headlights, and bucket seats, constructed entirely of cake (and it’s totally real). Reason #10,842 is Jenn’s lovely post, Wild Surmise about why women blog and why it is a beautiful and important thing to do. Reason #10,841 is full episodes of Jon Stewart. Reason #10,840 is that guy who dances all over the world.
And reason #1, by the way, is Etsy.
But back to #10,844. While searching for directions for felting wool — Merrie and I will try our hand at making mittens this winter — I stumbled across directions on Instructables for making microwave popcorn. From scratch.
Making microwave popcorn! Whoa! No carcinogenic PFOA packaging! No lung-damaging diacetyl! No $4/box price tag! No need to depend upon the anachronistic glasses and bowtie of Orville Redenbacher (may he rest in peace, and may they stop raising him from the dead, no, please stop, really) ever again.
You can make your own microwave popcorn. Who knew?
Well, apparently many people did, actually. Perhaps you, too. My boyfriend, Mark Bittman, knew about it back in May, even though he inexplicably failed to come to my kitchen to prepare any for me (honey? what’s up with that?). Treehugger knew about it almost a full year before my beau did. Get Rich Slowly was reporting on it all the way back in 2006. Wanna’ know something? I’ll bet people knew long before that, too. Perhaps the folks at ConAgra even knew that it wasn’t necessary to buy their product to get microwave popcorn in 2 minutes flat. Perhaps they knew and they just never told us.
I did not know. Now I do.
It’s so simple. So simple, and so fast, that one wonders why anyone would buy microwave popcorn, ever. All you need is regular ol’ popcorn — the kind that you can buy in bulk for a mere buck per pound, or thereabouts — a brown paper bag, some oil, and salt. Four ingredients, and only two of them (the bag and the popcorn) are actually necessary:
Here’s what you do:
Pour a quarter-cup dried popcorn in a brown paper bag.
Add a sprinkling of salt and about a teaspoon of oil if you wish – you can do this now, or after it’s popped. After trying this a few times, I’ll report that I’ve come to prefer adding these ingredients after it’s poppped, because the bag doesn’t get quite this greasy then:
Fold over the top of the bag several times (no need to staple or tape), and place face-down microwave. Cook on high for about 1.5 to two minutes, until there are about two seconds between each pop (we have a pretty powerful microwave, and this takes almost exactly a minute and a half).
As it cooks, the bag will start to rise:
Until it’s all puffed up, just like the store-bought kinds:
If you didn’t add the oil and salt before, you can do it now, and just shake the bag, so it all mixes around. Serve to hungry urchins:
(I feel obliged to report here that some folks recommend that kids don’t eat popcorn until they’re older than Charlotte. That feels extreme to me, although we stay with her and try to push the one-at-a-time approach.)
Then shout it to the rooftops: at last, Orville can finally rest in peace. For we need him no longer. We can make microwave pop corn on our own now. For a fraction of what we’d be paying ConAgra.
Farewell, dear Orville,
To your glasses, bowtie, grin.
I’ll pop my own. Rest.