Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Popcorn

Popcorn has been a staple food for me as long as I can remember.  We ate a lot of popcorn when I was a kid.  My mom had this popper that you had to put the oil and kernels in, and then put the whole thing in the microwave.  Sometimes my parents would make popcorn after my brother and I had gone to bed, but the smell of it would send us downstairs with these little tin buckets that we kept in our rooms--I guess for the express purpose of carrying them downstairs, filling them with popcorn, and taking them back up to bed.  (Now the idea of going to sleep with popcorn in my teeth would make me crazy, but as a kid I guess I didn't mind.)  A big part of Christmas was the three-flavor popcorn tin, with cheddar and caramel, and sometimes cinnamon popcorn.

At my friend Erin's house, her dad would make us popcorn and pour real butter on it and we would carry a huge bowl down to her basement and watch Space Balls or The Princess Bride while devouring our vat of buttered kernels and trying to perfect our British accents (I'm pretty sure this is how all the cool kids spent their weekends in seventh grade, right?).

Popcorn is especially a family tradition in the Talcott side of my family--my mom's mom's family.  My grandparents often made a Sunday night dinner out of popcorn, with chocolate waffles for dessert (a delicious family recipe, always served with vanilla ice cream), and my grandma's sisters shared that tradition, too.  "Snack Suppers" are still one of my favorite treats--popcorn, apples, cheese and crackers for dinner.  It occurs to me that we need to be making chocolate waffles more often...

When I was in my first year of grad school, living alone in an apartment, a bag of popcorn was dinner for me at least once a week.  Even now if David's at a meeting or ball game in the evening, he'll say, "What are you going to do for dinner?  Popcorn?" (David rarely finds it as compelling an idea as I do--he likes popcorn, but for him it's in the "snack" category).  It's probably the one and only food that no matter how stuffed I am, I always have room for it.  The smell is absolutely irresistible to me.

It was still something of a surprise, however, to discover that I share my love of popcorn with none other than Little Mac.  I remember feeding her some popcorn shortly after David and I started dating, when I was over at his place watching a movie.  I wanted to win her over and make her like me.  Little did I know that I was creating a monster...

We make it on the stove top now (because my cousin Amanda freaked me out about the chemicals in microwave popcorn--she also put me off of pre-shredded cheese!) and Little Mac is always underfoot in the kitchen anyway.  But she knows as soon as David puts that particular pan on the stove and pours in the oil that we're going to have popcorn.

She is so overcome with excitement and anticipation that she starts WAILING.  Howling.  And then Cooper joins her (we assume this is because her wailing hurts his ears, or maybe it's sympathy-wailing, either way, he sounds like a beagle and it's loud).  Mac gets especially frantic if no one is in the kitchen while the oil is warming up.  As though we might FORGET that there is popcorn on the stove unless she shrieks about it.  It's such an ordeal and so LOUD that sometimes we debate whether it's worth it to make popcorn (but in the end, it always is). 

So here you are--a taste of life with Little Mac.  Turn UP the volume of your computer (unless you are at work).  And please keep in mind, no dogs were hurt in this film.  She is in no physical pain whatsoever.  She just has trouble expressing her emotions appropriately:

And once the popcorn is popped, we eat in the living room and throw it out to the dogs one kernel at a time.  Cooper can usually catch it in his mouth.  Little Mac's eyesight is so bad that it has to land on the floor near her, otherwise it bounces off her head.  She tries to catch it, bless her heart, but she always ends up chasing it.  And she is absolutely beside herself with excitement the entire time.  If we pause too long between tosses, she'll bound up to the sofa and put her front paws up on our laps to remind us that she's still there, while she pants and smiles at us.

Action shot!  You can see that Mac has made a flying leap for this piece of popcorn, but she is going to miss it.  Cooper hangs back, because he wants the popcorn, but he respects his sister.  Or he fears for his life if he crosses her.  Either way.

Here's Coop, eyeing a kernel that's flying his way.

Another kernel--Cooper is poised to catch it!

Sister is hungry for more.  Always.


  1. So funny! The video made our husky lift his head up from his nap and look at me, then lay his head back down and resume napping. He's a fabulous shrieker himself (so bad that we don't take him on walks or he embarrasses us, luckily we have a big backyard and he's lazy so it's not necessary). I'd probably have to give up popcorn though, especially the making it on the stove part!

  2. Oh--I should have added that it was just as bad when we made it in the microwave. It got to the point where Mac got her hopes up and started wailing when we microwaved ANYTHING (defrosting chicken breasts, heating up a cup of tea, warming up leftovers). So actually the stove top is less of an ordeal when it comes to dealing with her...

  3. Well...I tried to watch the video, BUT my dogs did not appreciate wailing and started barking like mad...stupid dogs haha

    If I ever open the closet where their bones are they run to their beds (that's where they are allowed to eat them) I always snicker to myself when I get something else out, sorry dogs, fake out!

  4. Just played the video and Ernie cat's pupils got big and black and he left the room! Brought back bad memories of Little Mac for him!

  5. Turned the volume up and it sent my dog into a barking howling fit! Gotta love them! Such a cute story

  6. Hysterical! But you may hate me after this...I don't like popcorn. Like at all. I did buy something called "skinny pop" today just bc its ww friendly and something to munch on. We'll see!

  7. My, that is just awful. How long does it take to cook popcorn? Gasp, yes popcorn is a movies only thing around these parts.

  8. oh great. This is going to be like the time Brandy posted about those Magnum ice cream bars which I could not rest until I hunted them down. Now I need to get my hands on some delicious cheddar popcorn . . .like the one in the holiday tins you mentioned. Damn you

    Love the pups - great video!

  9. Even though you said it didn't help to make it in the microwave, I'll share anyway. You can make popcorn in the microwave without buying "microwave popcorn".
    Just fill the bottom of a brown paper lunch bag with kernels, fold over the top a few times and press the popcorn button on your microwave. Pull it out once there's 2-3 seconds between pops because it burns fast. (I like to think it's healthier without using the oil, though I'm not sure if that's true if you eat 4 cups of it.)

  10. Oh my goodness that is SO funny! Your dogs are very lucky to have you. It's nice I'm not the only one with food obsessions, that one had never occured to me though. :)

  11. We very much love popcorn in our home. I am a bit more like David, seeing it as a snack food, except when I am pregnant, and then it becomes a fall back meal. (One of my regular dinners when I was pregnant with Otis was popcorn and sliced cucumbers.) E, on the other hand, could eat it, lots of it, all the time, every day, and be totally and completely happy about it.

    And our little dog Oswald is NUTS for popcorn. I swear he's like the male version of Little Mac, without some of the teeth baring psychosis (he has his other neuroses, though, never fear)...He hears us pull the popcorn jar from the cabinet and runs into the kitchen. We use an air popper to pop it some of the time and when he hears the air popper start up he stands eagerly under the popper, tail wagging like 50 wags per second, waiting for the errant popped kernel to fly out of the bowl and land on the floor. And then of course we play the catch game with him. Oliver thinks we are totally crazy. (I think I have a cell phone video of Oswald with the popcorn popper, I'll have to track it down...)

    At my grandmother's Assisted Living facility they have a movie popcorn style popcorn machine, and every afternoon they have fresh popped popcorn, all you can eat...E loves to go visit her in the afternoon so he can get all the popcorn he wants...and now, every time my granny hears the word "popcorn," she talks about E and how cuckoo he is for the stuff. It so endearing.


  12. oh my gosh that is horrible sounding, but at the same time thanks for sharing that I needed a good laugh.

  13. You have created a popcorn monster. I have two popcorn monsters at home also. Have you tried the Indiana Sugar popcorn? Wow, delish.

  14. Dh & I are both huge popcorn lovers. We had it every Sunday night when I was growing up, while watching Ed Sullivan. (Yes, I am dating myself here.) Popcorn was one of the things that we bonded over ; ) & while we don't make it at home as often as we used to, we will often go to the Sunday matinee at the movies, buy two big bags of popcorn & call it lunch. : )

    I have one of those microwave popper things that you just put regular popcorn into, & it works really well for me.

  15. I think we get the love of popcorn from the Taylor side of the family too! I love popcorn, mom loves popcorn, and of course we've turned Mandi into a popcorn monster! I'm working on Danno, but maybe not too hard, cause then I have to share! Let me know if I can ruin any other foods for you, I read an article not too long ago about canned tomato cans, not jars and how bad they are for us.