Let’s talk about movie popcorn for a second. I always knew that the butter flavor poured on popcorn at the movie theatres was essentially lethal. The way they pushed down the pump and the spout of artery clogging fat and chemicals drenched every kernal, it seemed too good to be true. They finally they got the right idea when most movie theatres installed stations where the consumer could walk over with their purchased popcorn and pump the chemicals on it themselves! Now we can go back for a second pour if we missed a few kernels. Phew.
Now, back to the microwaveable popcorn... I had heard talk about a chemical known as diacetyl in the artificial butter flavoring in both movie theatre popcorn butter and most microwaveable popcorn bags. For those of you who don’t know about diacetyl, just read up on this ARTICLE that discusses a condition known was “popcorn lung”, where consumers of microwave popcorn have actually become ill from breathing in the toxic fumes of diacetyl. WOW. The lung condition is potentially fatal and is no joke. If people have been killed from just taking a whiff of this buttery popcorn, it is hard to imagine that the chemical is healthy to ingest, but there has been no reported issues on this subject.
Imagine all of those people who open a hot and steamy popcorn bag straight out of the microwave and stick their nose right to the bag to take in the potent butter aroma. Before you get all nervous that you may have the mysterious “popcorn lung”, keep in mind that this illness has mostly effected workers who have had repeated exposure to the fumes while making the popcorn, and as of a few years ago, most popular brands of popcorn have gone diacetyl-free because of this issue (although some scientists have argued that the newer butter chemicals used are just another form of diacetyl).
While I thought that I was being responsible by purchasing 100-calorie pack, natural, diacetyl-free, and butter-free popcorn, it seems that I didn’t get the memo regarding the toxicology reports on the danger of the microwave popcorn bags themselves. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical associated with some Teflon non-stick pan coatings, is used in the substance coating of the inside of microwave popcorn bags. Although further studies are required, some scientists postulate that PFOA may be carcinogenic to humans, based on results seen in studies performed on laboratory animals. The concern is that when the popcorn bag is heated in the microwave, the chemicals can potentially leach into the popcorn and be absorbed into the bloodstream in small amounts (read more HERE).
After researching about this issue…I realized that it sucks that I wasted money buying a huge value pack of Orville Redenbacher's® diacetyl-free 100-calorie packs at Costco a few months ago. Well, maybe that was my second thought. HA! On a serious note, I was immediately turned off from microwave popcorn, and I wondered how Alec and I would still be able to enjoy one of our favorite snacks while on the road. I have made popcorn on the stove the old fashion way with a tiny bit of olive oil, and a scoop of kernels, but if we are confined to living in a hotel from time-to-time where our only cooking appliance is a dinky microwave, this is just not going to work. I came across a few articles online that talked about air-popped popcorn using only a microwave, a simple brown paper lunch bag, and kernels. Now this on the other hand could work.
All You Need (For 2 Servings):
1 Brown Paper Lunch Bag
¼ Cup Organic Popcorn Kernels
(Use only 2 Tbsp. of kernels for a single serving)
I used an ordinary brown paper lunch bag, poured a measured out ¼ cup of organic popcorn kernels in, folded down the top of the bag 2-3 times, popped it in the microwave, and after just 1 minute and 30 seconds…MAGIC! You have an organic, whole grain, fluffy popcorn snack minus the preservatives, chemicals, extra calories, sodium and fat included in most store-bought brands. Check out this video provided by the American Dietetic Association, demonstrating how easy it is to make this quick and healthy treat: VIDEO
I made 2 bags of popcorn so that I could experiment with different seasonings on each. I seasoned one of the bags with a sea salt and herb mixture, and the other with chili powder, garlic powder and sea salt. I would recommend drizzling a small amount of olive oil on the popcorn before seasoning if you want to make sure it sticks! Just sprinkle the popcorn with the seasoning right in the bag, shake it up, and you're all set!
|(American Dietetic Association)|
Check out the nutrition facts for 1 serving of air-popped popcorn (w/o toppings) on the right >>
Off topic, but I guess I might as well give you the current hockey 411 for those of you who are wondering. After playing only 2 games back in Danbury this week, and registering a total of 6 points, Alec was called back up to rejoin the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL. I think I will give it a little time before I make any moves…but I am sure I will be back “on-the-go” before I know it. For now, it is the perfect time to focus on ME, and have some quality family and friends time! This is actually perfect timing for my brown bag popcorn experimentation. I have a movie date with my two closest girlfriends this weekend and I can assure you that I will be sneaking a bag of my fresh home-popped and seasoned popcorn in my pocketbook….