Thursday, 19 February 2015
I Pop Some Corn
The usual score in my weekly badminton games with my son has shifted from 2 games all to 3 games to 1. This week, after the game, he gave me a hug and said I shouldn't worry because everything has a tendency towards decay.
When we got home I claimed the sofa space and did one of my favourite things - watched a film in the late afternoon. I paused it after five minutes having decided to go the whole hedonistic way and make some pop corn.
For me, the two main pleasures of popping corn are hearing the mini phut phut phuts of kernels hitting the pan lid as they turn themselves inside out, and then trying to guess, from a period of silence, when it's all over. There's a tendency for a few kernels to wait until they see the light of day, then to make a bid for freedom, bursting into hot, fluffy missles which arc softly up, out, then down onto the kitchen floor.
The transformation of a layer of hard seeds on the bottom of a pan into a fluffy mound of polystyrene-textured explosions via the addition of heat and a well-fitting pan lid is always an expected surprise. This time I used toasted sesame oil to heat the popcorn and it turned out to be a good variation.
Apparently it's a drop of moisture inside each kernel that makes it pop. It goes something like this: as the kernels heat up, the water expands, turns into steam and mixes with the soft starchy layer in the middle of the kernel to form a sort of boiling gloop which then breaks through the tough shell when it's heated still further.
After the corn had popped itself, I sprinkled it with caster sugar and ate the lot whilst watching Bill Murray's top class performance in 'Broken Flowers'. The film beautifully resists the tendency to round off a story neatly.