As a kid, I had a brief love affair with popcorn. So much so that I routinely put a handful in my new-fangled air-popper and ate it for breakfast, with a bit of milk and honey on top. Later in life, after working weekends in a movie theater and seeing how much palm oil and salt went into popping up a few tubs of the stuff, my flame of ardor had been snuffed.
However there is reason to celebrate this time-honored movie snack food, and maybe even reintegrate it into your breakfast regimen, as I plan to do. But first, we celebrate those little hot pressurized kernels with a song from Eldridge Holmes:
I hope you enjoyed that bit of popcorn propaganda as much as I did. The news is that this week popcorn elevated its status to a potentially “perfect snack food” largely because, according to Joe Vinson PhD from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, a single serving of popcorn has twice the polyphenols (a healthful antioxidant thought to stave off cancer) of most fruits or vegetables. The report claims that, compared with fruits and vegetables which have high water content, popcorn holds a far more concentrated amount of phytonutrients that prevent cellular oxidation. And even the pesky kernels, which routinely get caught between your teeth, are loaded with these polyphenols, they actually have the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber. According to Vinson, it’s the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. Hard to argue with that.
Before you supersize your popcorn tub at the local multiplex, you should note that conventionally popped popcorn (heated in tubs of palm oil and topped with generous amounts of salt and “butter”) might not be the best road to good health. The report suggest, in an effort to get the most nutrition out of the popcorn experience, one should air-pop their popcorn and avoid cooking popcorn in oil or resorting to microwave popcorn, as these have twice as many calories as the air-popped snack. So yes, it may be time to invest $20 in an air-popper and start snacking.
Are you a popcorn enthusiast, and if so, do you have a favorite way of consuming it (“popcorn chicken” just doesn’t count)? Do you have creative/unusual ways of using popcorn in recipes? Bad popcorn experiences? Feel free to share.