Time brings all sorts of new ways to do things. Old traditions can be altered by new information or new gadgets. The simple snack of popcorn has tons of new flavors and devices to make the experience more fun. But change does not always come with improvements. Sometimes, the original had it right the first time. As a result, stovetop popcorn holds a very special place in our hearts – and on our tastebuds.
Users online recall this cooking method with such fondness that they never fully let it go. Many still adamantly prefer cooking popcorn on the stovetop as opposed to the microwave. Others remember the practice well enough but have some mixed feelings about the practice. For them, it tried their patience or ability to cook without burning the popcorn. Where do you fall in this spectrum of tasty nostalgia?
Corn: the food that keeps on giving
Many plants offer different uses among their various parts. Some can be utility-based, like the healing powers of aloe vera. Others excellent for consumption. Corn offers a lot of uses at once, all of them delicious. Corn took centuries to get to where it is now, though. The crop’s ancestor, years and years ago, only produced small, tough “fruits.” Humans discarded these harder ones and preserved any softer ones that crept up, eating and cultivating those to produce more. Gradually, this early genetic engineering yielded the vivid golden maize we eat today.
The giving doesn’t stop there, though, as certain kernels will characteristically expand and puff out when confronted with heat. That heat is converting what moisture exists in the kernel’s hull into steam. While a good hard bite into a kernel can yield painful results for consumers, steam pressure from within is actually perfect for making that tough hull burst. When popcorn pops, it’s expanding 20 to 50 times its original size. With all that energy released, the crop then cools. Cooking these kernels can be something of an art form, though, as Facebook comments revealed, and they’re all too relatable.
Stovetop versus Microwave Popcorn
When asked who made popcorn on the stovetop before the advent of microwave popcorn, people shared their experiences. Reactions range from nostalgia to persistence to frustration and everything in between.
Now, having popcorn involves multiple brands of actual corn, different toppings and base flavors, and multiple methods of cooking. Those who shy away from the stovetop method point out the tenuous nature that method comes with; it requires time and patience in equal measure. But fans assert it actually tastes far better on a stovetop.
Did you make popcorn on the stovetop before microwaves and microwave popcorn rose to fame? Do you still use this method? Share your memories in the comments!