My oldest daughter asked me if it’s fun to be a grown-up. “A lot of it seems hard,” she said, “A lot of it is taking care of other people.” Yes well, much of it is a drag, but there are consolations. There is this: when I was small, adults always seemed to be on hand to admonish me to not “spoil my dinner.” Now that I am big, I occasionally spoil it, just because I can. And my favorite way to do so is with a little snack I learned from my friend JJ: honey coconut popcorn.
I just finished a morose novel with one passage – just one – that almost made it worth my wasted time. Upon her imminent death, the matriarch of a large family realizes that in the end, it’s what we didn’t have that we will cling to. It isn’t the love we delighted in that we will recall at the last, it is every love we missed out on. Immediately I saw my own inevitable passing, and the white buildings of Santorini appeared before me. “I never got to Greece,” I will utter with my wispy, expiring breath, “And I didn’t eat nearly enough popcorn.” If you also fret over whether, upon your deathbed, you will be bereft at all the salty, buttery bowls of Orville Redenbacher that got away, then this treat has your name engraved upon it.
I make popcorn with butter, olive oil, parmesan, nutritional yeast, seasoning salt…all kinds of embellishments. But disregard all that for now, because this is about sweetened popcorn. I pour a neutral oil – usually sunflower – into a large kettle until it covers the bottom. I drop in 3 kernels. I heat it over a medium burner until the three kernels pop and then it is ready for me to add a half cup more, and close the lid.
That’s my way, but make it however you like. Even use one of those horrid pumpers that put up such a screaming racket, if you want. That’s the sound that was emitted, nearly nonstop, from my college dorm room.
So once I have a big, fluffed up kettle-full, I stir in a melted coconut oil and honey mixture (I melt it on the stovetop because I have this idea that the microwave will ruin it. Use a microwave if you must, but don’t tell me about it). Salt is a necessary element here, along with settling down in front of a little something you would be ashamed to have others know about, like Laura Croft, Tomb Raider; Cradle of Life. I personally would never watch that movie, just like I would never spoil my dinner.