This is embarrassing, or at least it would be if I had any hope of pretending that I wasn’t doing a perfect impersonation of an ex-nun. But my feckless, impetuous youth has recklessly sailed and sunk in the harbor, so you may as well know the truth.
Here goes: today I’m going to write about what matters most to me, and what makes me happiest, and what has become central to my world.
Yes, you heard me. A big pan of hot, salty popcorn. My goals have kind of diminished over the years, unlike my popcorn, which keeps expanding. (Somewhat like my butt; I’m sure there’s a connection here somewhere).
If this were Facebook it would be a Throwback Thursday to my childhood, where in our house you weren’t reading a book if you didn’t have a pan of popcorn jammed next to you on the couch. In all my memories of my brother he’s holding the latest Encyclopedia Brittanica and a pan of hot Jiffy Pop as he plants himself in the family room and reads up on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, because that’s what teenaged boys in the ’60s cared deeply about. (After the popping has slowed down to a single pop every few seconds, remove it from the heat and continue to shake it gently until the popping has stopped completely).
My entire childhood centered around scavenging up a pan of buttered comfort food and settling down with a good book in the cool, paneled basement rec room, a habit I’m more than happy to continue now that I’m in my 50’s. (Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds).
Oh, I’ve had my flings with air poppers and microwave gadgets and yes, the scourge of aficionados everywhere: microwaved bagged corn (just cut into an un-popped bag and tell me when you plan to snarf your next bag), but my habit has now devolved to this: one quarter cup of kernels, poured into a paper lunch sack, folded over, nuked for 3.5 minutes. Spray oil over the hot popcorn and salt generously. Add a book, and I’ve got a solid half-hour of menopausal entertainment.
One gadget I notably did not try was the Popcorn Hand, which is a gadget you can buy that will, and I am not making this up, pick up your popcorn for you so you don’t get your hands dirty. Word: if you’re eating popcorn and you’re worried about getting your hands dirty, you’re not eating popcorn.
With all this you can imagine my consternation when I could not get my Evening Pan popped, thanks to electrical difficulties which caused the microwave to cut out after 30 seconds. Do you know what your pan of popcorn looks like when it’s been interrupted three times in mid-pop?
I do, now. It’s not a pretty First World sight.
So now you know: my secret boyfriend is Orville Redenbacher. He’s older (and deader) than me, but if I’m lucky, I’ll forget that I’ve already popped a pan and I’ll make another one right about...
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at email@example.com.