Times have changed. Popcorn is prepared in a microwave, and while it's nice to throw a bag in the microwave, check my email, and return to a perfectly popped bowl of popcorn, I believe something is lost in the process. Microwaving popcorn is a detached experience and doesn't fully engage the senses like popping corn on the stove. There's something joyful about the first ping of kernels ricocheting off metal, a musical freeform Buddy Rich-like solo. Then as the popped kernels fill the dutch oven, the musical notes deepen to a chorus. There's just something romantic about the whole damn experience, and I miss it.
You could call me overly sentimental, but I'd like to see America return to popping popcorn on the stove. To spearhead this movement, I offer up this recipe for Parmesan-Sage Popcorn:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Place a large, lidded dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add oil and popcorn kernels.
- Cover the saucepan,t hen begin gently shaking the pan over the heat.
- Listen for the joyful pinging of the kernels, after 4-5 minutes, and continue shaking the pan until the popping slows. I find it helps to sing and shake my body to facilitate the shaking of the pan.
- Remove the lid and pour the popcorn into a large bowl.
- Wipe out the dutch oven, turn the heat to low, and add the butter.
- Melt the butter, and then add the sage. continue cooking for an additional 30-60 seconds, until the sage crisps. Add the butter and sage mixture to the popcorn, along with the Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Toss well to evenly distribute.
- Settle down with the family in time to hear Tattoo shout, "Ze plane! Ze plane!"
My mother would sometimes make popcorn with bacon grease? What are your favorite popcorn memories?
while we're at it, let's get rid of baby carrots and return to old-fashioned carrot sticks,