My Favourite Things: Homemade Popcorn

Before we get started

I write about life, and you know that. I write about the people in life’s backseat, the things life hides away in its sewing room, and the crumbs it ignores between the cushions. But I never really know how to plunk myself down and make myself do it.

I’ve decided I am going to write about my favourite things. That way, I will be able to pull inspiration from a common theme and hopefully write more frequently.

Favourite Thing #1

Homemade Popcorn

We were sitting around the kitchen table this evening, passing around a Tupperware of ginger snaps and filling our cups with tea. Someone was standing in the kitchen doing dishes and the windows were already pitch black after a mid October day. Someone asked the room what our favorite foods are. I’ll give you a moment to think of yours.

Pizza, burgers, ice cream, spaghetti, corn on the cob…Popcorn - my mom said it first. Or was it my uncle? The moment I heard it, I knew it was my chosen favorite food. Popcorn.

I’m taken back to the carpet floor of our basement. My brothers and dad have the couch and I have the comforter I dragged off my bed. I watch my brother set up the DVD player and yell at my other brother to shut off the light in the laundry room. We can’t leave any lights on.

Mom yells down the staircase. She asks if we have the movie ready to go. We can hear her shaking her steel popcorn pot, then the angry popping of the kernels against the lid. She divides it all up into three big bowls and melts the butter right in the bottom of the hot pan.

I hear her digging around in the baking drawer to find the bag of milk chocolate chips. You can’t have popcorn without chocolate.

She shakes on some salt and if it’s the weekend, we grab cold cokes from the garage. Someone hits play on the movie and I fall asleep on the carpeted floor.

The smell of popcorn in our house means Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is on TV, or we successfully recorded a movie from the movie channel. It means it’s Friday night and I’m home from college for the long weekend. You see a bag of Chipits and think of chocolate chip cookies. I think of popcorn and the movie, Flicka.

Popcorn doesn’t just smell like my mom’s house, it smells like playing Sequence and chocolate rosebuds around Grandma’s kitchen table at midnight.

It smells like my cousins house when we decide to not drive into the high school hockey game. Instead, we stay home on the couch.

It smells like being single and alone, watching Saturday Night Live in your pyjamas and missing home.

It smells like trying to explain the significance of popcorn to your boyfriend while he picks a movie on Netflix and you search every cupboard in your stupid apartment for a piece of milk chocolate.

It smells like home, and family, and weekends. What is your favourite food?

Mom’s Popcorn Recipe


  • Popcorn kernels

  • Vegetable oil

  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup butter (your preference)

  • Salt


  1. Cover the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan with vegetable oil.

  2. Add popcorn kernels until the bottom is covered.

  3. Put the lid on the pot and turn the stovetop to high heat. Give the pot a little shake.

  4. When the kernels start to pop, hold the lid and shake the pot back and forth every now and again until the popping subsides. Don’t leave it on too long. It will burn.

  5. Dump the popcorn out into a bowl and place butter on the bottom of the hot pan. Let it sit until it melts. Drizzle the butter over the popcorn.

  6. Sprinkle with salt and stir.

    Serve with milk chocolate on the side.

Cassandra CardyComment