Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Microwave Popcorn. Soooo Over It.

Quick Shqip Lesson:
If Pop=Puf and Corn=Miser, then naturally Popcorn would be….. Kokoshka! Exactly!

Ok…so I’ve already accepted that ol’ man Reddenbacher won’t be taking too kindly to this message. But life in Albania has lead me down a memory lane and along the way… I've rediscovered traditional popcorn… pa microwave! And with the batches of stove-top popcorn I’ve been making recently, I may never go back. BTW: "pa" in Shqip means without and in its short, sweet form, I’ve taken to applying it in my English vocab.

Although this “old-school” method may not produce results in 3 minutes… it’s not necessarily an arduous process. I’ve got down to about 12 minutes in total. Well…that’s if I’m being timed. But considering the pace of life here is a little more laid back… I’ll round up to 15 minutes for good measure. And really, when you're measuring out oil, its best to be slow and steady. Anyways... LET ME TELL YOU… it’s worth it! Harkins Theatre has NOTHING on my buttery theatre-style popcorn. Although you’ll be washing the greasiness from your hands for a good fortnight. And I’d willingly go head-to-head with any country festival booth manager who’s peddlin’ the ole Kettle corn. (Shout out to Aimee D for the addicting recipe!) And my new twist to the sweet kettle style is a dash of cajun spice…now that batch has a little ZING!

And the anticipation of the popping kernels is so much better than the old microwave bag. I just love that moment when so much has popped that the pots lid starts to rise up. It reminds me of times when I was little and my family was pa microwave and we’d make our own popcorn. Without this experience, maybe I'd have never recalled those moments with my mom and brother and the anticipation of those first kernels starting to pop. The memories are really quite sweet and I'm grateful. NOTE: If you are concerned about the level of enthusiasm I have over popping popcorn….let me just say, it was a long, cold winter/nje dimer i ftohte dhe gjate. And on that note, the action of shaking the pot so the bottom kernels don’t burn was a good way to warm up my insides!

Beyond the nostalgia comes the cost benefits to my Albanian cook-top prepared popcorn. I can make up to 3 batches for the USD equivalent of 65 cents! Consider that a 3-pouch box of PopSecret is $3. Still feeling the crunch of the US Economy? Apply to Peace Corps and Hajde me mua ne Shqiperi/Come with me in Albania! A measly bag of Lays Potato Chips, which is about a 1/3 the snacking amount of 1 Batch…costs me 50 cents. For you math-letes out there/nerd alert… I’m scoring BIG on some snackfood SAVINGS! However the extra savings will likely support a necessary gym membership as I’ve been known to scarf down a single batch (enough for 2-4 people) in less than 90 seconds. Photo evidence.

Anyway… what I’m trying to say is that I’ve found comfort/comfort food in reverting back to a lifestyle once enjoyed pre microwave convenience. Well….let’s just stick to the joys of my kokoshka, because when it takes me 20 minutes to reheat my leftovers from dinner last night… perhaps I'm a little less enthused! Ahh… nothing like that faithful hypocrisy to keep it real!

Peace, Love and Good Kernel Kharma

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