This is too good. Well, for us survivors of the Lower Pleistocene, it’s too, too good.  :-) Today’s New York Times reports breathlessly on the newest discovery among American home cooks, the rise of craft popcorn. Hilarious!

Do you realize that today, this very day, you can spend your children’s patrimony at Whole Foods on a package of flinty “heirloom” popcorn guaranteed to litter the bottom of your pan with duds?

It gets better.

Do you realize that Americans have so lost touch with reality that the Times, one of our country’s last surviving publications of record, feels called upon to explain, in exquisite detail, how to pop corn in a pan (remember those?) on top of your stove?

No kidding: step by step instructions on pouring raw popcorn seeds into a puddle of oil and setting the mess over a hot burner. They wrap it up with hints on how to butter your popcorn and suggest adding rosemary, sage, hot sauce, soy sauce, or grated ginger to “add character.”


Okay, for those of us who haven’t seen a popped kernel of corn outside of a movie theater in the past few decades, here’s the real old-fashioned CHEAP and INFINITELY BETTER TASTING way to make real popcorn.

First, disconnect the microwave.

Then, buy yourself a bottle of Orville Redenbacher’s. It tastes better than the generic stuff that comes in bags, leaves fewer duds, and believe me it will not cost what WF will charge you for that organic, artisanally grown, non-GMO, never hybridized, dudley popcorn revival.

Find a decent-size pot with a lid. A Dutch oven will do nicely, but any pot that will hold three or four quarts calls out for popping corn. While you’re at it, find a little pan to melt butter in.

Find some sort of vegetable oil: corn oil, safflower oil, olive oil, or, if you’re feeling effete, coconut oil will all do the job.

Find some butter. Find some salt of the finely ground variety.

Assemble these items. Then…

  1. Melt the butter in the small pan. Set it aside.
  2. Pour enough oil into the larger pot to just cover the bottom. Turn a stove burner to medium-high (gas is ideal, but you can struggle along with electric…). Place the pan atop the fire for a few seconds, long enough to heat up the oil (if you’re using olive oil, make this process every short, as olive oil quickly denatures over excessive heat).
  3. Sprinkle enough popcorn into the pan to form a single layer covering the entire bottom of the pan.
  4. Slap the lid on.
  5. Stand back for a minute or two. Listen for the sound of corn popping.
  6. When it sounds like typhoon rain banging on a tin roof, pick up the pan (use hot pads if necessary) and give it a few vigorous shakes. This will prevent individual kernels from scorching. Place it back on the heat. You may need to do this a couple of times.
  7. When the frantic popping subsides to just a couple of pops a minute, turn off the  heat. If you have an electric stove,  promptly remove the pan from the hot burner.
  8. Wait until the last pop is popped, lest you get whacked on the nose by a late-popping piece of corn. Then remove the lid.
  9. Dribble the melted butter over the hot popcorn. Stir with a spoon or spatula to mix evenly.
  10. Sprinkle granulated salt over the buttered popcorn. Stir (etc.). Do not add sugar. Do not add honey. For godsake do not add corn syrup. Do not add any exotic ingredients.
  11. (Optional) Pour an ice-cold beer.
  12. Dish up popcorn and and carry popcorn and beer to the nearest sofa. Enjoy.

Infinitely better than the bagged stuff you stick in the microwave.


 Check this one out:


Came across that in an estate-sale organizer’s online ad. It’s an image of a bedroom in a Scottsdale house.

Talk about more money than taste, eh?

Yesh, I believe that is exactly what it appears to be: the Happy Homeowner has stapled custom appliquéd, quilted padding to the walls. Is that astonishing, or is that not astonishing? To say nothing of hideous.

What possesses people? Is there something about the term “gawdawful unholy fire hazard” that’s hard to figure out? How about “property value”? Breathes there a buyer who craves to strip that crud off the walls and probably reinstall the drywall or at the least float a thick coat of plaster to cover up the damage?

They so loved this exquisite motif that they had matching pillows made…

padded pillows

And astonishingly, they found a hideous black fake plant arrangement to go with!

PaddedInspirationOkay, you have to admit: that was a find. What a find it is.

Ain’t humanity fun?


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