The day after Thanksgiving always brings a ton of cooking and chef supply catalogs in the mail. Do you get as many as I do? I page through and admire the many "fantasy" holiday table settings, linens and cooking gadgetry and then try hard to resist the urge to purchase as they try hard to convince me that I need that crap. I always get a kick out of what "specialty item of the season" Chuck Williams and crew insists I now need.
This year was no different. So on Friday, like clockwork, I was paging though the Williams Sonoma, Chefs, and Sur le Table catalogues, alternately coveting and laughing at the various goodies.
How did we ever get along without fully automatic espresso machines, milk frothers, yogurt makers, fruit dehydrators, panini presses, plug-in woks, or (seriously) electric raclette makers?
Twenty years ago the air popper popcorn maker was the new big deal. Everyone rushed out and bought one, including me. Just as quickly I gave it away. Using air to pop the kernels might save a few calories but to my palate the method left lot to be desired. If the catalogs are any indication these single use appliances are still quite popular. Not with me. I can't t encourage the use of appliances that do just one thing.
Just use a pan and a small amount of oil. Do it this way because it tastes better and unless you are eating the entire batch you don't have to worry about the extra calories from two tablespoons of oil. Don't get me started on the health perils of microwave popcorn. That stuff is just gross when you think about it.
I keep a Ball jar of popcorn stashed in the pantry for emergency appetizers and impromptu movie nights. Due to a last minute change of plans we were unplanned guests to a Thanksgiving celebration so I souped up a batch with some French herbs and garlic butter.
If you haven't made popcorn 'old school' in a long time don't worry, it is a bit like riding a bike. Use my trick for determining when the oil is hot and then keep the pan moving to avoid burning. Don't try to pop the last kernel -- just take the pan off a moment earlier than you want to.
One taste and you will be giving away your air popper as I did. You just don't need it. Sorry Chuck. No special equipment is necessary.