One of my fondest memories as a child was, very occasionally and as a big treat, my mother would allow my two sisters and I to pop some corn in a pot. I loved the dull thud, thud, thud of the kernels exploding in the hot oil as the kitchen filled with that unmistakable aroma of freshly made popcorn. The three of us then used to sit cross-legged on the lawn with a big bowl of warm salty (we never added sugar!) delight in front of us, as we stuffed handfuls of the treat into our mouths before licking the remaining salt off our fingers.
And, of course, I introduced my son not only to the end product but to the whole ritual of popping corn and scoffing it down together. One of my happiest parenting moments was sitting cross-legged with my toddler on the lounge carpet in front of the bowl of popcorn and teaching him to notice the difference between the popcorn shapes – mushrooms or butterflies. The problem is it’s not that easy to find bags of popping corn nowadays and somehow the microwavable equivalent on supermarket shelves is just not quite the same.
So readers can imagine my delight when a very dear couple, called Lesley and Bob, who are regular visitors at my cottages on the farm, completely unexpectedly sent me a Tupperware container housing a large tantalising cluster of golden popping corns.
I am hoarding these little gems for when Cameron comes home from uni for Christmas and I look forward to prepping them with him. Now at 22 years old, Cameron is a total foodie and he takes food prep exceedingly seriously. His morning coffee making routine (which usually commences at 11.30am!) is a sight to behold and heaven help me if I interfere with the ritual. (Just me standing in the kitchen or saying “good morning” can constitute interference.)
The important thing is Cameron has devised a corn popping method which reduces the quantity of what we call widows – the number of unpopped kernels sadly left in the pot. So this is how it’s done and a pox on your household if you don’t follow instructions to the letter. Pour a tiny amount of oil into the pot – just enough to coat the bottom – and then add exactly 5 kernels, no more, no less. Heat and after all 5 have popped, add the remaining kernels to the already hot oil. Proceed with popcorn ritual as usual.
Just writing this makes me happy in the comforting recognition that it is, indeed, the simple things in life that bring the most joy and I greatly look forward to seeing Cameron, Bob and Lesley back at the farm. Mushrooms and butterflies await.