popcorn and f.f.n.

Alex and I used to eat our way through bushels of it back in the States. It’s always been my Second Favorite Comfort Food, securely in its place right after ice cream. While pregnant I subsisted on popcorn alone for several weeks. But it was always the microwave kind. Are we not able to find something as basic, as intrinsic to human snacking as microwave popcorn in the UK? I’m sure we could. In fact, I’m almost certain I remember seeing a few envelopes of it in a store somewhere once, tucked away on the top shelf. The problem is deeper. We have no microwave. This absence has affected our lives in no other way whatsoever except that we can no longer heat up leftovers in a matter of thirty seconds. (I remember desperately asking my mom when she was visiting after Harriet was born how I was going to manage to heat up foods. Her answer? “In a pan.” Oooohh.) And of course, we have had no popcorn. UNTIL NOW.

Did you know that it is not actually the micro-waves of the microwave that make popcorn pop??? It is just heat. Heat which can be generated in a pan. Which I have. So when I spotted some plain popcorn in a store a few weeks back, I grabbed. I envisioned an entire “Family Fun Night” with popcorn and a movie. (I love F.F.N.s, by the way. SO fun with little kids. If you do these, do me a favor and leave a comment with some ideas–I’m always looking for more!) All I had to do was learn to pop corn.

Doing this intimidated me completely. But I faithfully consulted The Internet. I poured oils and popcorn in a pan. I turned on medium-high. I waited. If you were standing in our kitchen, you would have heard the following:
“It’s not doing it! Nothing’s happening!”
“Did you turn the stove on?”
“Yes, and it’s hot and nothing. Oh–wait!! It’s starting to move!”
“Is it popping?”
“No, false alarm. Is it smoking in here? Is that smoke or steam? I think it’s steam, I don’t smell smoke.”
“Wait, I’m coming.”
“OOOOHH! One popped! It popped! But the rest aren’t! Are they all duds, do you think? Maybe I did too much oil . . .It’s doing it!! I gotta put the lid on! Norah, come and see!”
“Daddy, why is Mommy screaming?”
“Don’t worry, Norah, she’s happy.”

While we munched, we watched a few episodes of “Thomas the Tank Engine” that I found at the library. Slow-moving but with intriguing plot twists and convincing dialogue. Two buttery thumbs up.

Don’t forget to leave me that comment.

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13 Responses to popcorn and f.f.n.

  1. Juli says:

    So glad to hear it worked! 🙂

  2. Kirstjen says:

    We LOVE “real” popcorn and haven’t purchased the microwave stuff in years! We used to make it just like that in a pan…until we discovered the Whirly Pop from some friends. It’s great! I don’t own too many kitchen tools that only do one thing, but this one is worth it. And it’s easy enough for our 4 year old to do with just a little safety help from us. (if you google it several varities come up…we have the cheapest $22 from amazon)

    We have been having movie nights lately. Our oldest is now old enough to sit through an entire flick and enjoy it!

  3. therigneys says:

    We love to go camping in the living room! We build a giant fort with blankets, chairs, couch cushions and pillows. We lay blankets and pillows on the floor and all pile inside with flash lights and read lots of books to Sam, and now Peter! I could sell tickets to the Sam Is Squealing Like A Girl Show because he gets SO excited! You should try it, I’m sure Norah would love it, too!

    P.S. Sam’s favorite snack lately has been homemade popcorn. And do you know why it’s MY favorite snack for him? Because he eats it so slowly, piece by piece. Snack time lasts a good 30 minutes and it gives me time to clean up the kitchen a bit. That is unless I don’t join him for the popcorn, which is what usually happens! 🙂

  4. ethicks says:

    OK, getting back on the commenting bandwagon. Sorry I’ve been MIA!
    I have no good FFN ideas to contribute–sorry. Our FFN nights consist of watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix with a glass of wine…probably not what you are looking for.
    But I just have to say that I could completely visualize that conversation between you and Alex and Norah in the kitchen–every word of it. You crack me up.
    And I think I asked you the same question you asked your mom–“how do you heat things up??!!” and then I had the same response, “Oooohhhhh, a pan. Novel idea.”

  5. ethicks says:

    PS There was a banana republic ad at the bottom of your post. You’re so big time! 🙂

  6. nateandmiriam says:

    we have a microwave but it doesn’t work…we should probably throw it away, but i keep holding out hope that it will repair itself…so to make our popcorn we use an ancient version of this


    which was the only kitchen item my husband brought to our marriage… we love it! no butter or oil needed, although you can certainly pour it on afterwards…

    we used to have two foster sons and when they lived with us their absolute favorite thing was for me to make this…
    Peanut Butter Popcorn
    1/2C honey
    1/2C. Sugar, (a lot of times, I leave out the sugar) mix this together until bubbly, then add 1/2C PB, pour on top of popcorn

    also, i love the fort idea above…the way we would do that though is have one of us take the kids on an outdoor adventure (walk) and then when we came back the other person had transformed the living room into a fort…the kids loved!! being surprised by the change when they walked in…

  7. cailan says:

    How funny. 🙂 I’m afraid we haven’t quite gotten into the swing of FFN yet – thanks for the inspiration! You’ve probably read the great ideas for family fun posted at Femina a year or so ago. One of my favorite ideas is getting all the kids up after they’re in pajamas in bed and going out for ice cream – we probably won’t be trying that for a couple years, but it’s sure to be a hit.

  8. jenna says:

    okay…i don’t have ideas for ffn right now, because i’m so focused on the popcorn. my boys love, love, love home made kettle corn. ok, we all do. and i make it in a pan. i am one who nearly abhors small appliances. we have a small house and if i can make it in a pan, then i’d prefer to keep my square foot of space, thank you very much.

    here’s the recipe:
    1/4 c. oil
    1/4 c. sugar
    1/2 c. popcorn

    let the oil get hot, then add the sugar and popcorn. when it starts to pop and get crowded in the pan so that you have to put some in the bowl (which is so incredibly frightening), give a vigorous shake of salt. the sweet and salty combination is amazing. every time i make it, i’m afraid it’s going to fail somehow, but it’s always a hit. also, don’t freak out if your pan appears sticky brown. it dissolves easily.

  9. Michelle says:

    We had a very similar night once at our house a couple of years ago!:) Living away from the US has taught me how to make a number of things I previously didn’t know how to make from scratch. My favorites are popcorn and tortillas (they do have them here, but corn tortillas are hard to find – and both types were too pricey in Germany if they could be found). My family is still hoping I will find a way to make homemade root beer (Chris had this at an American’s house in Germany but didn’t get the recipe) and a good homemade barbecue sauce so let me know if you figure those out!

    • betsy says:

      BBQ stuff is tough. I had some friends recommend BBQ pork recipes for me but all of them required lots of ingredients unobtainable here. Oh well! I make my own corn tortillas, too. 🙂 Come back and comment if you get the root beer recipe!

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