Monday, March 11, 2013

Pop This

I went appliance shopping this afternoon.

Oh, not the big appliances.  Not the sort of appliances that require shipping or finance plans.  Not the kind of appliances where you have to readjust the counters whenever you buy a new one because there is some kind of obscure province in the legal system or perhaps an unwritten segment in the Appliance Makers’ Code of Honor that says every few months they have to resize everything by 2.1% so that nothing ever quite fits into the hole vacated by the previous appliance and purchasers should just plan on making a swing by the liquor store on the way home because sweet dancing monkeys on a stick are you going to need to drown your sorrows in something flammable – or burn them to death if it turns out they can swim – once this experience is safely behind you, except it isn’t ever really behind you because before you can learn to spell “amortization” it will come back again, yes it will.

Nothing that complicated today, thankfully.

Instead, I went looking for a new electric kettle.  The old one died sometime Sunday morning, quietly and without fanfare, between cups of tea.  My first cup was nice and hot.  My second one, well that took longer than I thought it would because I had to remember what primitive methods I had once used to boil water prior to the introduction of the electric kettle into our house and then I had to spend a good half hour convincing myself that such methods were still legal in this day and age before I actually thought to make myself some more tea and by then it was time for lunch and you can’t really drink hot tea with lunch except as a side beverage and who has time for that is what I want to know.

See what happens when I don’t get my fix?

So this afternoon, with my class over and my various and sundry academic chores either completed or set aside to languish and produce a fine crop of hemp-like guilt that could easily be turned into ropes with which to tie myself up into knots, I headed on over to the local Gigantic Store – or one of them, since Our Little Town seems to have a plethora of them – to replace my kettle.

They had exactly one.  So I bought it.

Sorry, next person!  You’ll just have to blather on in your own blog.  This one’s full.

The thing is that the Gigantic Store does not really like to make things easy for you.  They want you to wander around and make impulse buys, and spend money you weren’t planning on spending in their establishment, except that I am far too sharp for that sort of ploy so I went purposefully toward my goal and … ooh!  Shiny!  MINE!

So sue me.

But it’s really cool!  It is!

My children are popcorn addicts, and I like this.  Popcorn and I go way back.  It was the default snack in my house growing up – my dad made it the old fashioned way, with a steel pot and some oil, and I can still do that trick without turning the kitchen into a smokehouse most days.  My kids however like the microwave stuff, which is fine except that it probably has more chemicals in it than your average New Jersey landfill.  Tasty, tasty chemicals.

At some point when I was in college I moved into a place with my friends and discovered, leftover from the previous tenants, a slightly warped air-popper.  It was louder than an unoiled subway car and threw off enough heat to divert incoming missiles, but it worked and we made good use of it.  I inherited it when we moved out, and I kept it for years until it finally died.

My children regarded this story as pure fiction.  An air-popper?  Seriously?  What tequila-based hallucination is this, old man?

So when I stumbled across a small stack of them in the Gigantic Store – marked down to a pittance, because apparently 1980s-era snack-food technology isn’t your prime retail star these days – really, what could I do but buy one.

We plugged it in tonight after dinner.  It roared like a sucker-punched lion.  It spit kernels.  It raised the ambient room temperature by whole number multiples.  And out came popcorn.  Bales of popcorn.

Life is good.

Perhaps a cup of tea with that?


Tania said...

Does it have the little tray to melt butter with the waste heat? Because that was always my favorite part. Least favorite was CLEANING that part...

David said...

Of course it has that little tray! That's half the fun!

Janiece said...

Hey! I have one of those! Complete with little tray!

I love popcorn...

Phiala said...

It's too late for you, but plain old bulk popcorn in a plain old brown paper lunch bag microwaves beautifully, and without all the crap they put in the prepackaged microwave popcorn.

Microwaves even melt butter pretty well, you know.

John the Scientist said...

We have the Orville Redenbacker (former Vigo County Farm Bureau extension agent - one of 3 famous people to come out of Terre Haute's environs) popper. It's only about as loud as a hiardryer, makes great popcorn, and has no cleaning issues, as we operate under Guo Min Dang martial law in this house, and butter on popcorn is strictly verboten (to mix dictatorial metaphors).

mattw said...

We use the pan on the stove method and go through a lot of popcorn. We just finished a second 50-lb. Sam's Club bags of kernels not too long ago. Those tend to last us a little more than a year. Alas, CostCo only has 12.5-lb containers.

The best, though, is stopping at the farmers markets in Wisconsin and getting the different colors of kernels. It's been a while since we've had our black popcorn fix. Must be time for a road trip.

David said...

Phiala - Now that would miss the point! How would I get my tasty, tasty chemicals then, hmmm?

John - you do know that popcorn without butter is the albino peacock of snack foods - it sort of misses the point. How can you not have butter (or some vaguely butter-like substance, as at movie theaters) on popcorn? I am agog!

Matt - Let me know when you plan to come up. We have two different farmer's markets here in Our Little Town, though I don't recall them selling multicolored kernels there. The main one, however, has the world's best kettle corn.

John the Scientist said...

Actually, you get used to the subtle flavor of the popcorn. Unlike cake, which is an icing delivery device, popcorn does not need to deliver anything. :p

David said...

See, now that is just backwards as far as I am concerned. I have reached a point in my life where I find most icing just too much of a dose - I'd rather just eat the cake - but popcorn exists entirely as a vector for butter, salt, and sometimes cheese powder.

John the Scientist said...

Well, if you're tlaking about that nasty commercial "buttercream" Crisco concoction, yes. But real, cream cheese icing on a moist red ... velvet...cake. Excuse me, I've got to make a little side trip to NY. :D