Hot Mess: Pop It Like It's Hot

(No apologies on the food pun) Not to sound arrogant or anything, but it seems to me that most people are easily impressed when it comes to food.  As soon as you say the words “homemade,” everyone is amazed and you become the go-to caterer for group get-togethers.

Now I’m not trying to take any credit away from anyone, but most homemade things that people make are really, really simple.  Yet, it’s considered a true accomplishment.  So how do we use this information to our advantage?  Simple. Create easy, homemade concoctions and bask in the limelight when everyone credits you to be an amazing chef.

So, to organize this group of creations, I have decided to call them “gilded plates,” dishes that seem more difficult than they actually are.

Let’s start with something basic: homemade popcorn.  With the continued popularity of the microwaveable variety, the tradition of popping popcorn over the stove has pretty much died out.  However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be brought back to life.

Making fresh, homemade popcorn couldn’t be more simple.  All you need is loose unpopped popcorn, a little oil, butter, salt, and a mid-sized pot with a lid.  (Make sure the pot you’re using has a lid! You can’t imagine the mess you’ll have on your hands without one.)

Photo by Jasmine McNenny

Set the pot on the stove under medium high heat and add about a tablespoon or so of oil.  Throw in the popcorn kernels, being sure to remember that they do puff up to 4-5 times their size.  Put the lid on and gently shake the pot a little to make sure all the kernels are coated in oil.  After a minute or two, the popcorn should start popping.

Photo by Jasmine McNenny

When this happens shake the pot back and forth rigorously over the heat so that the popped kernels don’t burn.  After another minute or two, the popping should slow down and eventually stop completely.  The nice thing about making popcorn over the stove is that if it is done correctly, almost every kernel pops and not one is burned.

Photo by Jasmine McNenny

Next, pour the popcorn out into a large bowl.  Melt some butter in the microwave, keeping in mind that a little goes a long way.  For a rough estimate, about four cups of popped popcorn only need about two tablespoons of butter.  However, the amount is ultimately up to you and your taste preference.  Pour the butter over the popcorn and add a few shakes of salt.  Toss using a large spoon or even your fingers to prevent breaking up the kernels.


Photo by Jasmine McNenny


And there you have it.  The whole process takes about five minutes and it’s well worth it.  Very few people make homemade popcorn even though it takes about the same amount of time as throwing a bag in the microwave.  But honestly, there is no comparison between fresh butter and that powdery yellow stuff that comes on microwave popcorn.  Fresh butter on homemade popcorn has a surprising lightness, sweetness, and creaminess that makes it even more addicting.  And you know the expression “finger-licking good?”  That definitely holds true in this case.  All it takes is one bite and everyone will want you to come over for movie night, as long as you bring the popcorn.