Cooking-101: How to Pop Popcorn
By Emily Sierra Poertner
Tuesday afternoon, I’m five minutes away from finishing my physics lab in Trexler when the fire alarm goes off. Since there are chemistry labs on the upper floors, no one questions the alarm and we all head outside. In the parking lot, the people in lab coats deny that it was their fault, so we wait for the fire department to show up. They search the building in full gear only to come out and announce that the building was safe. A staff member had burnt popcorn.
While Roanoke College has a good variety of courses, the only cooking class we have is an INQ about the chemistry of cooking. Judging by the number of fire alarms caused by burnt popcorn, I think both students and faculty could benefit from a little instruction on how to pop popcorn.
Step one: Select your favorite kind of popcorn. I, for one, am a Blast-O-Butter fan, but if you want to eat healthy and choose kettle corn, good for you.
Step two: Take the plastic off.
Step three: Read the instructions. This may seem simple. You may not think it’s important. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been popping popcorn for forty years: read the instructions. Every popcorn is different.
Step four: Put the bag of popcorn in the microwave.
Step five: Set the microwave for the recommended amount of time. You may think the bag doesn’t know best; that’s why step six is the most important.
Step six: Don’t leave the microwave. I don’t care if you have to pee, if you left your phone in your room, if a stray cat is puking on your laptop. You will stand next to the microwave. While you’re standing next to the microwave, be a good listener. You know how your parents/girlfriend/teacher/boss say you never listen? Stand there and practice that skill.
Listen to the popcorn. Is it popping constantly? Good. Has it gotten to be less than one pop per second? It’s done. Open the microwave. Even if the timer isn’t done, the popcorn is. You know this because you’ve become a good listener. You’ll go far in relationships.
Step seven: Enjoy knowing you didn’t piss anybody off by causing a fire alarm.
Troubleshooting: What if the popcorn is still popping, but the timer is almost up? There’s a nifty button on microwaves that says “more” or “add a minute”, this will add more time without stopping the cooking. If you have any more questions tweet @RCbracketyack with the hashtag #popcorntroubleshooting and we’ll be here to help.