I swore off microwave popcorn last year, for a number of reasons – mostly to do with reducing unnecessary packaging and chemicals, and a general trend toward slightly lower-tech living; not to mention the whole suspected carcinogen thing, and the fact that a large bag of popcorn kernels costs about half as much as one box of “convenience” microwave popcorn. Now, I’ve always made popcorn on the stove at home – it’s just so much better – but I occasionally like popcorn at work as much as the next corporate drone. What to do?
Well, if I feel like planning ahead I can always make popcorn at home the night before and bring it with; and sometimes I do. Occasionally, though, one of those times hits – those times when three different people make popcorn and the whole office is just filled with the smell, and suddenly you gotta… have it… right… now! :)
For those times, I offer this solution: DIY. I keep a small container of popcorn kernels in a desk drawer (it needs to be small because the process I’m about to describe depends for its success on the kernels being relatively fresh), along with a handful of paper lunch bags. Just toss a handful of kernels into a lunch bag, fold the top over a couple of times, and nuke on High.
You do have to stay and listen very carefully – without the oil the kernels don’t get quite as hot and the heat doesn’t distribute as evenly, which means that you may occasionally have to pause to empty the popped kernels into the bowl then return the rest to the oven for more popping, or they’ll burn. That aside, however, there’s no difference in the basic process. Once you have as much as you want, just spray a little butter-flavored Pam (Pam is basically just compressed canola oil) over it so the salt has something to stick to, and you’re done!