“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating, there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” – John Ruskin
It’s finally raining in Los Angeles.
We need it. Farmers need it. The reservoirs need it. Everything needs it. What we don’t need is the increased traffic, subsequent automobile accidents, and everyone coughing, sneezing, and shivering.
Meanwhile, life needs to go on the way it does in every other part of the world that has ever experienced rainfall. I stare forlornly out of the shower window and fight with my Lazy Girl urge to call in sick. (Yes, there’s a window in my shower. It has a great view of a wall.) Don’t worry Mom, Dad, and employers of the word. I’ve never called in fake sick for ANYTHING. I’m too concerned about my karmic cosmic balance kicking me in the face at an inopportune time.
Although not a bad alternative, there are only so many coffees and delivery containers of Hot and Sour Soup I can go through before I start staring forlornly out of the window again. In my world, rainy days are an ideal time for popcorn. Have it curled up under a blanket with some sort of movie or TV marathon on, or eat it at your work desk while skimming through Business Insider and Buzzfeed on your ten minute break.
Popcorn is an ancient variety of comfort food. I’m talking 3600 BCE in what is now New Mexico ancient. Maybe even 4700 BCE in Peru ancient. Don’t believe the hype that English settlers learned about popcorn from Native Americans. There is no evidence to suggest that popping corn grew in New England during the colonial period.
Popcorn mania began during the Great Depression and World War II, when farmers struggling for cash supplied it to purveyors who sold it for 5 to 10 cents a bag. (It also helped that candy production was focused on making products like M&Ms to send to the boys in the trenches overseas, but that’s another history lesson for another time.)
Also, if I haven’t been clear, I’m referring to the type of popping corn made on the stovetop and in over-priced (but still badass and cravable) popcorn machines. It’s easy to make, but remember to keep an eye on the heat. If the heat is too high, the outer layers of the popcorn break too early (burned/scalded popcorn or popcorn with a hard texture.) If the heat is too low, the pressure inside the kernel won’t increase enough to pop.
Oh, calm down. It’s easy. Plus now you’ll get to see what all those gourmet varieties of popcorn are about (although I’m pretty devoted to my name-brand Orville Redenbacher.)
Heat a few tablespoons (enough to cover the bottom of the pot) of extra virgin olive oil or butter in a large pot over medium heat. Throw 3 individual popcorn kernels and cover the pot, leaving a small crack for steam to escape. Once all 3 kernels have popped, pour in 1/2 cup of popcorn, and tilt the pot to spread the kernels around evenly. Re-cover the pot, leaving a small crack for steam to escape again.
Now listen for the magic. The same rules for microwave popcorn apply to stovetop popcorn – 1 or 2 seconds between pops (“One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand”) means the popcorn is done.
Pour the popcorn into a bowl and season to taste with a couple of tablespoons of melted butter, salt/truffle salt/garlic salt/various other toppings.
Now, your only mission is to eat the entire bowl in one sitting.