In general, the “batch” posts on this blog are Leah’s. It’s “batch” like in “batch of cookies,” because Leah likes food: she puts on cooking classes, has an MS in nutrition, and is a registered dietitian. Also, she’s just really great in the kitchen. The “narrative” posts are mine—I like writing and I teach high school English (and he’s really good with words –Leah). I probably don’t write as much as I should, but I’m getting back into it through this blog. And then there are the “everything else” posts, which we both do, and so far have included entries about llamas, the mill we live in, and things related to North Carolina.
I’m not too passionate about cooking (though I am passionate about eating), with one exception: popcorn. I am, with absolute humbleness, the best popcorn popper you have ever met. I do stove top only, and I can hardly stand to even see other people prepare popcorn, because they’re always doing it wrong. To rectify this, let’s go over quickly the only acceptable way to make popcorn. You will need:
A bag of un-popped popcorn kernels
- Olive oil
- Salt (finely ground)
- A medium-sized pot with lid
- A stove (don’t dare try the microwave)
- Forearm strength
Put the olive oil in the pot. Cover the bottom, then put in enough popcorn kernels to cover 75% of the oil. You want enough extra oil to lightly coat the kernels. This is the only flavoring you could ever possibly want, besides salt, unless you happen to be into something like nutritional yeast (post about that here). Yes, olive oil has a strong flavor. If you’re feeling cowardly, use vegetable oil, but I promise after two or three or twenty pots of popcorn cooked in olive oil you’ll absolutely learn to love it.
Put the lid on that sucker and place it on a burner, on a setting between medium and high. Then go and watch a YouTube clip of “The Office” or use the bathroom or water your succulents; whatever kills about two minutes. After two minutes you should hear the oil sizzling. Now it’s all warm so you should get an even pop. Crank the heat to maximum and start shaking the entire pot with VIGOR. I find it helps to put one hand on the pot’s handle and the other on the lid. It will be LOUD—this is not the food to make while someone is sleeping in the house—but such is the price of a perfect snack.
Really, the only way you can mess this up is by burning the kernels or oil, which might happen if you stop shaking. When the popcorn is done popping empty the pan into a bowl and salt to taste. Don’t even dream of putting sugar on your popcorn (kettle corn is an abomination), and put water in the pan when you’re done for easy cleaning. And that is my contribution to the batch side of things. Enjoy!
–Jeff and Leah