Healthy and frugal popcorn

I had no intention of getting rid of my bags of microwave popcorn. I'd eat a a bag after school a couple two three times a week when I was teaching full-time. Our family would pop a few bags before a Friday night movie and enjoy the taste as well as the time together. Then, my husband sent me a link describing why bagged microwave popcorn is a health hazard. Really? Cigarette smoking is a health hazard, popcorn might just make you fat, I was thinking. And then I read in horror. 

First, I learned that the awesome smell you get when you open a freshly popped bag is actually a chemical called diacetyl, a synthetic flavoring added to the kernals that smells like butter. So, the workers in popcorn factories developed a condition called "popcorn lung" from inhaling the gases that had diacetyl in it. 

Another concern involves the chemicals lining the bags. The inside of the bags are coated with PFOA, which may be a carcinogen. It's the same stuff used to make Teflon pots and pans. This chemical has been linked to bladder cancer, thyroid problems, and high cholesterol. 

Then you have the run-of-the-mill additives and artificial flavors in the more healthy options. As in most other processed foods, you can find partially hydrogenated oil and artificial color in bagged popcorn. You might even get TBHQ to preserve freshness and propyl gallate, whatever that is. 

I only had to entertain the thought that I was going to have to live without popcorn for a few seconds. It turns out that it is easy and cheap to make your own! Mark ordered a popcorn popcorn for $9 on Amazon and we bought a container of kernels at the grocery store. The first couple of bowls were not that good. Then I found this simple recipe for perfect popcorn. 

Melt one tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of salt in a microwave safe bowl for 35 seconds. Mix 1/3 cup of kernels with the butter and salt. Then microwave the kernels in the popcorn maker. That's it! Kernels, butter, salt. 
     I love that fact that it costs $0.50 per pound to make your own popcorn instead of $5.00 per pound using bagged microwave popcorn. That's a huge difference. I also love knowing that I'm offering a healthy snack to my family. Perhaps the thing I love best is the combination of great taste and the ease of preparing the popcorn. If it was a lot work, I wouldn't be doing it or telling you about it. You're busy, too!

There's beauty in my family all snuggled under blankets, watching a movie in the living room together. However, this time beauty begins with popcorn, instead of biscotti!