Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Popcorn Lung

A few months ago I heard about this new ailment called Popcorn Lung. Basically it occurs when workers in the microwave popcorn plants breathe in all of the chemicals that line the microwave popcorn bags. Funny that the companies publicly stated that the chemicals that line the microwave popcorn bags are safe for consumers. Does that sound right to anyone else?

The whole thing sounds nasty. It made me think twice about microwave popcorn. But it didn't scare me enough to stop eating it.

My Little Guy is really sensitive to food additives and food dyes. He can't eat conventional salad dressing, cream cheese and surprise...microwave popcorn. So lazy me started buying the organic brands. Little Guy seemed fine with the organic brands.

Then I got popcorn lung.

On a recent afternoon, when the entire neighborhood was playing at my house, I popped-up some microwave popcorn. It's an easy and cheap way to feed a ton of kids. I leaned over the bag to pull it open....Breathed in....and the popcorn lung hit.

Coughing. Hacking. Tight chest. I completely talked myself into believing that I caught the popcorn lung.

After the popcorn lung incident decided to buy a jar unpopped popcorn kernels. Supposedly, they can be cooked in a large pan on the stove top. Lies again I tell you. I got burned, crunchy, kernels.

Next, I bought an air popper. It is my new best friend. Basically you put in a half of a cup of kernels. Plug in the machine. And out pops a huge bowl of perfectly popped popcorn. No popcorn lung inducing chemicals. Feeds six neighbor kids snack in under five minutes. Amazing.

With all of the renewed talk of clones and genetically modified vegetables, I'm now wondering if I'm somehow modifying the DNA of all of the neighbor kids with my most-likely genitally modified corn. Children of the corn. (groan here)

I can't win.


Erikka said...

I am a popcorn addict! It is the one thing I will not give up in my educational food process. What I did is switch to unpopped, ORGANIC corn kernels. I know, hard to believe, and maybe they're lying, but I am buying it and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

My beau and I make ours in a pan on the stove. But it took us burning one pot to find the perfect popcorn pot - No, we didn't buy this for popcorn use, but it is even more awesome because it is PERFECT for popcorn. Pour in vegetable oil in a thin layer on the bottom. Cover and leave there on medium heat. Simple. When you hear the kernels starting to pop, stand nearby so when they slow you can remove pot from heat. Voila, yummy unburned popcorn.

But a popcorn popper rocks too. :)

Erikka said...

ps. the pot is called 365 and it is from IKEA. the link looks like it didn't all fit.

velvet said...

hello! i have been a fan of your blog for a while now. i have a super easy popcorn solution for you! just click on over to my blog for my recipe for homemade microwave popcorn:
it is seriously foolproof! :)

Erika said...

Perfect pan popcorn 101:
The pan: I generally use a wide bottomed pot... or the wok.
Oil in the pan - enough to coat the bottom. (I use canola oil)
Add 3, count 'em three, kernels.
Turn the burner on med-high or high.
When ALL THREE have popped, add enough kernels to cover the bottom of the pan.
Cover with either a well fitting lid, or a mesh lid and then partly with a towel (hot oil spatters are no fun on bare hands!).
Gently shake pan to toss kernels around.
If using a lid (not the mesh kind), tip it a little so the steam can escape every few seconds (I do this shake, shake, shake, shake, steam combo), if you're using the mesh/towel combo, this step can be skipped.
When the popcorn gets going pretty fast, turn the burner OFF.
Keep doing what you're doing!
When the popping slows (or the lid gets pushed off), pour your nummy popcorn into a bowl.
Salt to taste, some even add melted butter.

Good Luck!

Gruppie Girl said...

Erikka~ I'm coming over for popcorn and a movie! You sound like you have mastered the art of popcorn popping. :)