Choices for popcorn are sliding down a slippery slope, literally

For Better or Worse

November 16, 2011|By Cathy Drinkwater Better

The other night we were watching a movie on TV. During one of the commercial breaks — which are generally long enough to drive to Dairy Queen for a sundae and get back before the show starts again — Doug went to make some popcorn.

I approve of popcorn as "food" on principle. It's delicious right out of the kernel — if you like Styrofoam packing peanuts — and it has fiber which, as the fiber-supplement industry is constantly reminding us, is good for us. Personally, I think they're just trying to get rid of all those extra Styrofoam packing peanuts.

Popcorn starts out as a healthy snack, but it rarely ends up that way.

When I go shopping, I always get Doug's favorite "flavor" of microwave popcorn. (For the record, "microwave popcorn" isn't as tasty or as authentic as the regular do-it-yourself kind. I also consider it cheating. But I vowed to try to start embracing new technology instead of fighting it, so I've started with popcorn. I'll get around to the Walkman in time.)

Doug's favorite popcorn flavor is pretty much any one that has "butter" in the name.

Here are his top picks, ranked using a scale from 1 to 5 — with 1 being "No way am I eating that"; and 5 being "I'd ride 500 miles bareback on a brewery horse, naked, to get it."

"Light butter."

"Movie-theater-butter" (which makes the house smells like a 16-screen cineplex).

"Ultimate butter" (oh really?).

"Movie-theater-pour-it-over-the-popcorn-yourself-butter" (the "butter" is a funny color … possibly radioactive).

"Butter tub" butter. Or, as I call it, "coronary express butter."

Then there's ultimate-movie-theater-butter-pour-it-yourself-big-tub-extra-large popcorn. I call that one "I'm comin' to meet ya, Elizabeth, cardiac arrest flavor." It's not allowed in the house. It should have a doctor's warning label reading, "Eat two handfuls and call me in the morning … if you live."

Anyway, after popping a full-size bag of ultimate pour-it-over-the-popcorn-yourself movie-theater-butter popcorn, Doug opened the refrigerator and took out a stick of butter.

He sliced off a chunk approximately equal to four tablespoonfuls — give or take a quarter-cup — plopped it into a small bowl and microwaved it. Then he proceeded to pour the melted butter over the already-saturated popcorn.

Lastly, he carefully cut a sliver of butter and placed it on top of the popcorn. As garnish, I assume.

When he sat down next to me I noticed he had about six cups of popcorn floating in a massive pool of butter. It looked like a giant bowlful of cereal with milk. "I think you got some popcorn in your butter there, Scooter," I remarked.

"Want some?" Doug offered.

"No thanks," I said. "I've become accustomed to my blood being able to reach my brain and other vital organs without the assistance of a pacemaker."

"You don't know what you're missing," he declared, contentedly munching what the coroner may someday refer to as "cause of death."

I didn't see the rest of the movie. I spent the next couple of hours watching Doug for signs of a stroke and looking up cardiologists in the Yellow Pages. I heard you can do that on the computer now. Someday I'll try that.

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