I like popcorn.
I mean to say, I really like popcorn. It is my favorite snack. I have, however, gotten picky.
I used to be a big fan of movie popcorn, but I’ve found a lot of variance. Microwave popcorn has just become a big greasy-and-flavor-packet mess.
No, if I want it done right, I have to do it myself, and that means stovetop. I start with a basic set of parts:
- Good Kernels This makes a big difference. Rule of thumb: if it’s in a plastic bag, it’s probably not good. Orville Redenbacher’s kernels are good, and can be consistently had. However, I’ve gotten some good (and not so good) stuff at farmer’s markets–I happily try those offerings. I’m also fond of the unpopped kernels sold by the Boy Scouts
- Peanut Oil I’ve experimented with different oils. Olive oil wasn’t right. Canola was good; corn oil wasn’t. I thought sesame oil would be interesting–it was, just not the way I hoped. I finally settled on peanut oil. It has a mostly-neutral-but-good flavor, and yields a crisp product.
- A Heavy-Duty Saucepan
- A Big, Wide Bowl Popcorn pops because moisture inside the kernel creates pressure when heated. When it pops, steam is released. This is a good thing, but, when the popcorn first comes out of the pan, I find it kind of gummy. A wide bowl spreads the popcorn out, and lets the steam get away. I usually let the popcorn rest for five minutes or so to allow for this.
- Kosher Salt I suppose other sorts of salt will do–this is just how I roll.
I bring this up because my coworker delivered my annual supply of Boy Scout popcorn. In terms of dollars-per-pound, it’s a good value. It also means that when my daughter has to sell something, I know just who to approach.
I added an allusion to one of popcorn’s greatest moments on the silver screen.
When I started at my current job over a dozen years ago, one of the biggest perks was “business casual.” Prior to that, I generally had to wear at least a tie. Getting to wear khakis and an open collar was a perk.
I’m rather surprised that I’ve joined in with some of the newer guys in the office, to wear ties in the office. As I have mentioned before, I had a whole stash of ties that I simply wasn’t getting the opportunity to wear. I think that I wear ties perhaps three or four times a year, and typically not to occasions where, say, a Snoopy tie is appropriate.
What I discovered? Well, men are fairly boring dressers. Absent ties, we all look fairly the same. Guys, tell me if you’ve heard this: “How come I didn’t get the memo” when a conference room contains men all wearing the same shirt.
Each week at my office, a few more guys are wearing ties. I’m going to invite the others on the Internet to join in. If you do so, tweet about it, with the #necktiethursday hashtag.
The Cincinnati Zoo has two new cougar cubs. We went down today to meet them. One surprising thing was they had spots.
And amazing blue eyes!
And paws at least a two sizes too big for their bodies.
Cougars are also known as “pumas,” “mountain lions,” and “panthers.” This little one practice a classic mountain lion pose.
One dozed; the other seemed to have a very special relationship with his bowl.
Of course, it seems to be any bowl…
We have a special fondness for cats sticking out the tip of their tongues.
The not-so-sleeping cougar tried to make friends with his adoring public.
Cougar’s conservation status is listed as “least concern,” with the main threats being habitat loss, human encroachment, and bad jokes based on slang. The AZA didn’t recommend captive breeding for years. An increase in overall capacity to house cats has allowed them to be bred. A cub in Oregon was the first born under this policy. I assume that these two were next.
The sibling woke up, and the cougar wrestling started up.
The only animal we saw today were these cougars. We spent an hour and a half, but they were an absolute joy to watch. I snapped 367 pictures of them, though these were the best. I think at the end, we were as tired as these guys.
We got a Boppy when my daughter was just born. It hasn’t been required for her in years. Eddy, on the other hand, has made good use of it.