Over the holiday break, I bought an entire bag of popcorn so I could get the single kernel that this fried chicken recipe calls for. I didn't give the purchase much thought - it was just a big bag of plain popcorn for $1.
The other night, my husband and I were watching TV when we decided it might be nice to have a snack. I remembered the popcorn and went into autopilot mode to make a batch on top of the stove the way we always did when I was growing up.
I put a little grape seed oil (yes, the oil I use has gotten fancier) in the bottom of my biggest saucepan, poured in a half cup of popcorn kernels, put on the lid and turned the burner to "high" until I could hear sizzling. Within a few minutes I had a nice batch of popcorn. I melted a little butter in the hot pan, poured it over the bowl of corn and sprinkled on some salt.
Throughout the process, my husband hung around and kept asking lots of questions. It turned out that his family didn't make popcorn that way. In the pre-microwave days, they always bought Jiffy Pop, which my family considered overpriced and gimmicky.
We always used a battered, copper-bottomed skillet for our popcorn. It probably held about the same amount as the pan I used the other night, but I don't recall that we ever measured the popcorn we put in it.
I've never been much of a fan of microwave popcorn. I think it's too greasy and overly flavored. Now that I've been reminded of how good (and cheap!) popcorn can be when it's made the old-fashioned way, I may never go back.