Nutritional news is often dire: less white flour, less sugar, less butter, less sodium. But sometimes the news is rather splendid—coffee is good for you! so is chocolate! and red wine!

I count homemade popcorn in the latter category. First of all, it’s a whole grain. And while both movie theater popcorn and standard microwave popcorn have some scary stuff in them, you can make non-scary and even more delicious popcorn at home really easily.

Here’s what you do: put some popcorn kernels in a microwave-safe dish and cover with a plate set slightly askew to allow steam to vent. (Thanks to The Kitchn commenters for teaching me this trick!)

Note the solitary escaped kernel. Run, kernel, run!

Microwave until the popping slows substantially. The time depends on how many kernels you put in and the power of your microwave.

Then flavor as you wish! Lately I’ve been tossing with olive oil and za’atar, Old Bay (in the photo below), or berbere spices. But you could use anything—parmesan, truffle oil or salt, even cocoa powder. Last time I checked, they don’t give you those options at the movie theater or the microwave popcorn aisle.

Post-pop.

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