I am addicted to popcorn. Our affair goes far back. It was love from the start. To this day, I can’t believe how good it is. It surprises me. I had to give up my delectable friend for 3 years when I had braces as a teenager. That was the deal – no gum, no candy either – but oh man, it was going without popcorn that slayed me.
I’m a stove-popped popcorn girl. That’s the way I first had it and it’s still my favorite. However, back in the day, when I didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about nutrition and when the public wasn’t anywhere near as informed, I’d not only consume movie theater popcorn, but I’d routinely ask for “extra butter.” And they’d usually oblige me, pumping more of that mystery golden topping onto my popcorn. (It never occurred to me at the time the topping might not actually be butter. Whatever it was, I wanted it sloshing in my cup. Yes. Well.)
In my less health-conscious days, I also invented my own cheese topping for an occasional treat at home. I’d melt butter in a small pan and then add cheddar cheese to that so it congealed together. I’d pour the liquid mix over my popcorn. [Excuse me while I swoon at the memory.] I couldn’t tell you when I last did that. There’s plenty of reasons to have a healthy diet, not least of which is I hope to be able to keep eating popcorn forevermore if I keep my teeth where they are. Now, I occasionally use a tiny bit of butter as the rare treat, or maybe just shredded cheese. But mostly it’s “straight” popcorn. I liven it up with spices or Nutritional Yeast (don’t let the name fool you; it’s tasty!).
I am eternally grateful that the food I love above all others is actually good for me. I knew it was a whole grain and high fiber, but a study two years ago which gained a lot of attention had even better news http://www.scranton.edu/news/articles/2012/03/popcorn-study.shtml. This link isn’t as scientific (i.e., dry) http://abcnews.go.com/Health/popcorn-packs-antioxidants-study-finds/blogEntry?id=16006251. The short story is popcorn has fabulous antioxidants, specifically “polyphenols,” more than fruits and vegetables. The hull packs the most of them and fiber. We shall refrain here from getting into the whole genetically modified business – I’m really not in a position to start farming & harvesting my own corn to pop. I’m gonna eat what the stores sell.