Time for Popcorn
With continued cold temperatures and brisk breezes, spring unveils its finery slowly. Covered by frost, and then, by snow, the protruding buds and sprouts are not quick to grow. I imagine I am them, not quite sure why I make it out for a walk when I feel so unprotected from this long cold spell. But I keep my spirits up by working on art projects, listening to music and reading good books. Every now and then, I’m still grabbing a blanket to wrap myself in when the cold has settled in my bones.
When the weekend comes around, after a shift at my cheese shop, I like to eat lightly. Popcorn and apples are the perfect snack. I don’t often make popcorn, but when I was growing up, we had popcorn every Sunday night. After a large after-church dinner prepared by my mother and often shared with guests, we didn’t want to eat all that much. And popcorn was the one food my father knew how to make. He had the technique down pat and I often watched him as he poured the oil in the large pan, then measured out the popcorn. The sound of the kernels hitting the pan sounded like smooth stones. Once the lid was on and the kernels were hot, I waited for that first pop, and then the second, and then many as my father slowly moved the pan back and forth over the flame. As the sound built and then dwindled down to nothing, I waited for him to lift the lid and release the steam and smell of fresh popcorn. Then he would pour it into a large bowl, salt it and bring it out to the dining room table where we could each fill our own bowls.
Whenever I make popcorn, I always think of my father. And I have finally learned how to make it without scorching some kernels on the bottom. Everyone has their method for making it right. I still remember when Tom popped a couple of kettles worth for my bakery open house. He did it perfectly. Then, there are the toppings. At our house, we like peanut butter popcorn. When I go to the Mennonite Relief Sale every September, I like the lightly sugared and salted variety.
As traditions go, every Thursday, Jim and I have popcorn at Constant Spring. And lately, I have been tempted by Shirley’s Popcorn downtown. It’s easy to stop in and get a small bag of caramel corn, and it’s a little bit like having Garrett’s of Chicago right here in Goshen. All of a sudden, I’m hungry. Time to go pop some popcorn!