My Dad got me something for Christmas that I have wanted for a while. A real popcorn popper. I have never owned one of these myself. My dad had a big metal pan with a lid that he used when I was a kid. He made popcorn by shaking the pan over the flame. He would get so mad when we ate all his popcorn. He even added things like excessive pepper to try and keep us out of it. We just learned to like peppered popcorn.
I first started thinking about getting my own awhile back when I read a Prevention Article about foods that food experts wouldn't eat. I was surprised to see that microwave popcorn was on the list. Evidently, the lining of the bag contains a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which can possibly cause infertility, plus liver, testicular, or pancreatic cancer. When you heat up the bag to pop the popcorn, the chemicals vaporize, but some of them go into your food. These chemicals can accumulate in your body over time to levels that can cause these health problems. Scary!
There is also danger in the fake butter flavoring. A chemical called diacetyl causes a respiratory disease, known as bronchiolitis obliterans, or popcorn workers' lung. The people that work in the microwave popcorn factory are getting sick from BREATHING this chemical, and we are EATING it. It seriously makes you rethink that bag of popcorn you have while watching a movie.
However, there is a way to avoid these chemicals. You can use an airpopper or use a cool oil popper like the one my Dad got me. You turn a crank while the oil heats up (think shaking the foil wrapped popcorn over the burner). You can add seasoning or have it plain, depending on your taste.
I am psyched to try out some of the recipes in the book that came with it. I just did plain buttered popcorn the first time. I learned that a full batch is TOO much for me eating by myself. Even I cannot eat that much in one sitting. Popcorn can be a very healthful snack when made with a little oil or airpopped. It makes for excellent fiber and aids in digestion. Kids love it and it is much better than most chips. Do you know of any great flavored recipes for popcorn? I would love to hear about them...