10/23/2014 06:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Lost Art of Making Popcorn From Scratch

I never quite took to the whole microwave popcorn thing. Sure, it's easy, but making popcorn from scratch is easy, too--and it tastes so freaking delicious! Even better with real butter! Hmmm, it's better with butter...isn't that some sort of ad slogan? If it isn't yet, it should be. Butter is key. Remember those hideous air poppers? They were all the rage in the 1980s when fat was evil.

Anyhow, I make homemade popcorn all the time, and my kids have requested I put it in writing because it's an essential snack in our house. And while my oldest has mastered the art, my middle is still working on it (and the youngest is too young to work the stove).

This is a recipe that involves listening.

Popcorn from Scratch

  • ½ cup organic popcorn
  • ¼ cup organic olive oil
  • Organic butter
  • Salt

1. Start with a LARGE PAN WITH A LID. No lid? Forget about it! Bigger is always better because popcorn needs room to explode. My kids suspect that a better-quality pan with a thicker bottom is also key. But that's all I ever use, so I don't know for sure.

2. Place the oil and popcorn in the pan and turn the stove burner to high. (These quantities are very flexible, but don't skimp on the oil because it's necessary to make the popcorn beautiful and delicious. You can also use other oils like coconut. Whichever oil you choose, just make sure it's organic.)

3. Put the lid on. I repeat, put the lid on. Keep the heat on high.

4. You should start to hear popping after a minute or two. And it will quickly turn into a crescendo of popping, kind of like the grand finale at a fireworks show. At that point, TURN THE HEAT DOWN to medium-low! If you're using an electric stove, you should turn it down even before the crescendo, since electric heat cools off slower than gas heat.

5. When the popcorn popping starts to slow, turn off the heat. But let the pan sit on the burner and continue to pop. UNLESS you smell burning. In that case, you didn't turn the heat down quickly enough and you should remove the pan immediately.

6. Place the popped popcorn in the bowl.

7. Melt as much butter as you like--more is always better and appreciated, not less. Melt it in the microwave or on the stove. Add it to the popcorn. Stir. Now, this is important, always put the melted butter on before the salt; that way the salt sticks to the popcorn instead of going to the bottom of the bowl.

8. Add salt.

9. Voilà it disappear!

P.S. If you find yourself wanting popcorn but can't make it from scratch (like when you're at the office), organic Quinn microwave popcorn is superyummy! I keep a stash at work so that if I'm simply starvational and can't find any other food, I pop some and become one of those annoying people who make the whole area smell like popcorn.

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