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Lessons From A Bowl Of Popcorn

April 3, 2020

Popcorn was a big part of my family growing up. My dad loved it. The man who rarely gave compliments bribed my little brother into making it with flattery. (Lies My Father Told Me)

This was the days before microwave popcorn. In fact, I think one of the main reasons my father bought our first microwave was the hope of making popcorn even quicker.

Back before we all became pseudo-experts on microwave technology, we had a disasterous episode with popcorn and a plastic bowl. It was the last time we ever used that bowl.

Did you know that a popcorn has about 30 calories per cup? And it’s high in fiber. Of course, if you add salt and butter, or what passes for “buttery topping” at movie theaters, you boost the calorie count significantly.

I don’t like the butter or salt. My favorite is popcorn as plain as possible.

I typically make microwave popcorn. Why do microwaves have a popcorn button? Does anyone ever use that button? Did you burn your popcorn?

My bags take about 2:30. But, sometimes they only take 2:15. Sometimes they take the full 2:30. But, I have to listen to the bag popping. When there is about 5 seconds between pops, it’s time to the take it out. Leave it in too long and the popcorn will actually burn.

However, no matter how long you leave it in, even if it starts to burn a little in the middle, you can never get all the kernals to pop.

I buy a high-end brand of microwave popcorn. If popcorn brands can be described as high-end. The cheaper brands have more unpopped kernals. My brand has fewer, but there’s always some.

I used to pop popcorn in a frying pan. You add a little oil, don’t let it get too hot, or the oil will smoke. Add your popcorn and then shake. Shake for a long time.

But, here’s a strange thing, the pan is the same temperature all the way around. The kernals all enter the pan at the same time. And yet, they pop at different times. And some never pop at all.

I think I only know one song about popcorn.

I looked out the window and what did I see?
Popcorn popping on the apricot tree.
Spring has brought me such a nice surprise.
Blossoms popping right before my eyes.
I could take an armful and make a treat,
A popcorn ball that would smell so sweet.
It wasn’t really so, but it seemed to be
Popcorn popping on the apricot tree.
– Popcorn Popping, words and music by Georgia W. Bello

It’s a children’s song. There are actions that go along with it; hands “exploding” out as bursts of popcorn.

There are two lessons I think we can draw from a bowl of popcorn. Well, maybe you wouldn’t draw them, but they make sense to me.

First: Not everyone develops at the same speed. Sometimes that late bloomer just needs a few minutes longer in the pan.

Second: Some people never bloom. And you end up throwing. . .Umm. . .Okay, maybe it really was only one good lesson.

One good lesson and a kid’s song.

(You can hear someone singing the Popcorn Song here)

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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