Popcorn Smackdown: Which Popcorn-Making Method Wins?

Popcorn Smackdown: Which Popcorn-Making Method Wins?

As long as you don't go smothering your popcorn with artificial butter or a sugary glaze, popcorn is the perfect, healthy snack. First and foremost, it's a whole grain. It has fiber and antioxidants. And it's low in calories when compared to other crunchy, salty snacks.

The only thing we've been fighting about at BlogHer is the best way to make it.

Melissa's Way: Metal Bowl on the Stove

Alton Brown knows what he's talking about: unitaskers are kitchen clutter. Unless there is nothing else in the kitchen that can perform the task as well as the unitasker, it needs to go. Yes, I'm looking at you, popcorn machines.

Brown makes his popcorn on the stove top using a metal mixing bowl, and that's the way we do it too. Drop a quarter cup of kernels, one and a half tablespoons of oil, and a quarter teaspoon of salt into a metal mixing bowl (which you can use for other things when you're not making popcorn), cover with aluminum foil, poke some holes, and set it on the heat. When the popcorn starts popping, shake the bowl around a bit so it doesn't burn. When the popping slows down, take it off the heat and add a little extra salt. Perfect.

Grace's Way: Whirley Pop

The Whirley Pop (Amazon, $29.20) changed my life. I don't like microwave popcorn or a lot of gadgets, but I received one of these as a gift last year. The Whirley Pop is so simple… it's a thin metal pot with a tight-fitting lid and a whirligig. You add your own oil, popcorn, and turn the handle. It makes the fluffiest popcorn with NO KERNELS left behind. And the kitchen smells like real popcorn with no weird chemical odors. I like to sprinkle it with a little melted butter and sea salt, and I swear it's better than the kind at the theater. We use it several times a week after school or for movie night.

whirly pop

Image: ThomasLife via Flickr

Stacy's Way: Nordic Ware Microwaver Popcorn Popper

When I finally found proof that what I knew in my heart was true -- that packaged microwave popcorn is evil (okay, not evil, but does have some clearly-not-natural-and-most-probably-not-good-for-you components) -- I moved back to pioneer days and started making popcorn on my stovetop again. Yes, it's delicious! But it's kind of like an event: You know, stand before the stove, shake-shake-shakity-shake-shake-shaky-shake, while my son has already started the movie without me. Plus it's not a low-calorie treat, what with the tablespoons of oil you need to get it going. Then a friend told me about the Nordic Ware Microwaver Popcorn Popper (Amazon, $13.37). Dude, it's a simple melamine bowl, with a plastic lid, but it conjures just the right heat to pop up delicious, tasty, fast, easy, popcorn with no effort and no oil! And it doesn't taste like air-popped popcorn, either (i.e. like cardboard). I often add half a tablespoon of oil for just a little flavor and so the popcorn will grab some salt, but it's way fewer calories, way less work (i.e. no work), less to clean up afterward (can go into the dishwasher), and now, at last, I can see the opening credits of all the movies I watch with my son.

Tell us how YOU like to make your popcorn (and tell us what you like to put on it, to boot).

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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