Sunday, February 15, 2015

Something that begins as a memory and continues as a tradition

Popcorn..We roll big when it comes to popcorn.  We buy it from Costco in the biggest container they sell.  I do it the old fashioned way.

My grandfather was a pretty amazing man.  He died when I was 7 years old but the memories he left me with are very vivid.  My sister and I spent a good amount of time with our grandparents. They lived in Edmore which was a town that bordered Stanton and just 10 short minutes away.  Morley was Superintendent of Montabella schools and Nanny (Colleen) was a kindergarten teacher.  Nanny is still with us (bless her heart) in a nursing home in St. Johns.  My grandfather used to have the biggest garden ever in his backyard and even as young as I was I remember spending lots of time out there while he weeded and picked the veggies.  I especially remember that he grew popcorn.  He always planted the same kind (called tender pop because it was tiny and tender.  It pops to about half the size of normal popcorn and is much easier on the teeth) and every year we would husk it and prepare it for popping  Your hands would get almost raw as you would wrap your hands around the small ears and twist in opposite directions until the kernels would loosen.
We would have a bowl full of kernels and lots of chaff.  He always waited for a windy day or he would pour the kernels from one bowl into the other in front of a fan and that would blow away all the chaff.   I can still hear the sound of the metal pan that he used moving back and forth over the electric stove.  He would just cover the bottom of the pan with oil.  It was actually shortening back then.  A large dollop to be exact.  I can still see the white dollop melting as I was allowed to stand on a stool next to stove.  He would add just enough corn to cover the bottom of the pan.  It had to be covered and then you waited to hear the popping start.  You had to be very careful at this point not to burn it.  This is why he would keep the pan moving over the burner and only stopping when he knew all the kernels were popped.  He always had the salt and some melted butter waiting next to the pan and would doctor up each pot after it was poured into the big bowl.  We would all get our napkins and be able to eat at TV trays in the living room with some sort of good television show.  It is one of my fondest memories of spending the night at Nanny and Grandpa's house.

I remember that my mom always popped popcorn the very same way.  She had a pan that she still to this day calls the popcorn pan because it is literally black.  It was ruined from years and years of burned grease on the outside of the pan.    I started doing it the same way years ago when I began having kids (my pan is also looking really bad).  My kids love popcorn and the mere thought of having to buy enough microwave bags to feed all 6 would keep David working at least another 5 years.

We have made some adjustments to our popcorn making by forgoing the shortening and using either olive oil or coconut oil and usually foregoing the butter.  The kids enjoy it with or without butter so I will  trade off depending on what kind of junk was eaten that day.  There are many nights when everyone votes for popcorn instead of dinner and I am usually in agreement with that request.  That is what happened tonight.  If you think for a minute that there is any left for the next day...You are sadly mistaken.

No one in the family grows their own popcorn anymore so I went years without the tender pop but thanks to Aunt Myrna we found it again.  Myrna has found a stand down at the Eastern Market where we can all buy big jugs of it for a reasonable price.  I am always excited when she leaves a jug for me in an Easter basket or surprises me with a jug on a Saturday afternoon after returning from the market.  This is also one of the many reasons why I love going down to the market with her.

Something that begins as a memory but continues as a Tradition.

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