Eating popcorn isn’t what it used to be | TheFencePost.com
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Eating popcorn isn’t what it used to be

Marilyn Kratz
Yankton, S.D.

There’s something so cozy about an evening with a bowl of hot buttered popcorn to munch. And how easy it is these days to pop a bag into the microwave and have that treat ready to eat in a minute or two. But, you know what? I don’t think it tastes nearly as good as the popcorn we ate years ago when making it was a whole lot harder.

First, we had to shell the corn off those little cobs. I don’t remember if my dad raised popcorn in his fields. It may have come from my grandparents who raised many different crops on their farm, but I do remember shelling it. Those kernels had sharp, pointy little tops that liked to dig into our fingers as we worked.

Then we had to be sure the old iron cook stove in the kitchen was really hot. That meant filling the fire box with lots of dry cobs we’d carried in earlier and adding more and more as the popcorn popped.

To pop the corn, we used a wire mesh basket with a lid of the same material and a long handle. We’d pour in the little white corn kernels, secure the lid tightly with a wire hook, and start shaking the basket directly on the hot stove top. Since there were six of us in our family, we usually made more than one wire basket full.

Mom would pour the fluffy hot kernels into the big pan we used to wash dishes (no sink back in those days) and pour over lots of home-churned butter that had been melting at the back of the stove. We didn’t spare the salt either. We weren’t worried so much about cholesterol and high blood pressure in those days.

We’d all pull our chairs up to the kitchen table with the pan of hot popcorn in the middle, and we’d dig in. We were always careful not to bite into the unpopped kernels we called “old maids” which settled to the bottom of the pan.

Now here’s the best part. We didn’t watch television in silence as we snacked on the popcorn. Of course, we didn’t have a set back then. So we talked to each other while we enjoyed the popcorn. Imagine that!

While I’d be the first to admit it’s much easier to enjoy popcorn these days, I’d also insist it isn’t the same treat it used to be back then when it was harder to make and more “social” to eat.


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