When I was in Paris last year we popped corn kernels in a wide skillet without a drop of oil, and strung it on our little Charlie Brown-sized Christmas tree. (His name was Norman).
In early June when it was my mother's birthday and we were settling in for a cozy night of movie-renting and popcorn-candy binging, my desire for making fresh, un-microwaved popcorn struck hard. I remembered Paris and fell under images of a deep, heavy skillet spilling over with mounds of crackling light, homemade popcorn. And butter too! Bowls of butter bathing every crevice, and steaming sweet salty nothings onto our dissolving tongues.
Soon enough I was clanging about the cupboards, digging for the giant stove top pot and smacking alarmingly large wedges of unsalted butter off and into a small saucepan for melting. My mom became tense with all this calmour, and led herself to fretting at the slightest indication of a burnt pan, or the lack of (or over abundance of) coconut oil being used to heat the sweet yellow seed. I rattled and shook, covered and uncovered the pot, peering at the thin layer of glistening kernels bobbing slightly under the pressure of all that growing heat and ignored her. My hair separated and frayed, grew larger over eyes crazed with desire, my face blurred in the maddening steam... She would just have to wait and see.
Mountains! Glorious glowing bright butter colored mountains of pale white yellow popcorn began to erupt from the pot. A few soared like flying fish from The Muppets while I reigned over the rest with my aluminum sheild. A few shakes more and my crop was delivered to the crayola blue bowl waiting on the table. Then came down the warm, heavy rain, drizzling two sticks of unsalted, freshly melted butter over the billowing bowl of hot, dry popcorn. And what could be better than that? (Perhaps dishes of sea salt plucked from their shelves, the thin flakes crushed lightly with all 5 fingers in a flurry and zeal as yet undiscovered since the days of the freshly-picked garden basil or the peppercorns-cracked over homemade vichyssoise. )
In a giant bowl, butter pooling lightly at the bottom and sides scraped with invisible grains of salt, I brought the glory into the den, and we ate. we dug we dug we dug down deep into the bowl, hungry, happy and heavenly fresh.