September 5, 2007

"'This is a very weird question, but bear with me. But are you around a lot of popcorn?'"

"His jaw dropped and he said, 'How could you possibly know that about me? I am Mr. Popcorn. I love popcorn.'"

28 comments:

lee david said...

The article almost makes it sound like he lost 50 lbs. in 6 months just from not eating microwave popcorn twice a day. Hmmm.

Everything in moderation?

peter hoh said...

This is pure speculation on my part, but I suspect that we are going to learn more and more about the health risks posed by synthetic and altered fats.

rhhardin said...

Banning diacetyl.

Iambic, spondee, trochee and anapest are next.

Original Mike said...

Well, I guess you can scratch popcorn off the Edwards Administration's list of approved foods.

MadisonMan said...

Back to popcorn cooked in corn oil, the way it was meant to be made. With a drizzle of melted butter on top, and a trace of salt.

Still, if I ate two servings of that a day for 10 years, I'd be in trouble.

Larry said...

If years of working in a place full of plastic...ummm...artificial butterflavoredpopcorn(TM) wasn't enough consider divorce every time my wife nuked a bag of that stuff..., say. speaking of "workplace safety", how about us poor fools that had to put up with that?

But the worst ever was waiting for my truck to be loaded with the stuff in Hamburg, IA.

Corn popped in olive oil is another issue--right tasty with a bit of real butter.

Larry said...

I was not clear. The place where I worked for years was a programming shop where people nuked that stuff by the ton. The only time I was in a popcorn plant was in later years hauling the stuff.

SteveR said...

Goes great with carrots

Palladian said...

"This is pure speculation on my part, but I suspect that we are going to learn more and more about the health risks posed by synthetic and altered fats."

Perhaps you're right, but the culprit here is not a fat, but a flavoring ingredient. It just smells like fat. But, like most really bad things, it's not "artificial" by nature; it's produced as a by-product of fermentation.

Joe said...

Based on the history of stories like these, if there were a betting line on it, I'd go with hoax.

jane said...

Joe, not even a kernel of truth to it?

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

Is this part of the hoax?

http://www.butterflavoringlunginjury.com/faq.htm

(via Tom Maguire)

Daryl said...

The article also says he liked to inhale the hot steam as the bag opened.

I'll bet that's where 90% of his injuries took place.

People do all kinds of weird things. If you do the same weird thing over and over and over again, you might be injuring yourself in a strange way...

Chip Ahoy said...

I knew there was something wrong with that stuff. It smells rancid before it's cooked, then it smells great. Never understood that. Prefer to get a sturdy pot rocket hot, add vegetable oil to almost smoking point, dump seeds and make sure they're entirely coated with hot oil. keep it moving so that it ALL POPS AT ONCE in one long cracking explosion. It's fun. Dump into a bowl when it STOPS POPPING ALL AT ONCE, use the hot pot to melt enough butter to coat the batch. Sprinkle with grated hard cheese like parmigiano reggiano, any one of a dozens of curries, or garlic powder or something. One adva ntage is you can control the portion and you can stick your face in it and inhale without being harmed.

Trooper York said...

Never, ever use garlic powder...simply shave some garlic into the oil with a potatoe peeler and it will dissolve into the oil and give it a rockin' garlic taste….garlic powder...Disgracia!

XWL said...

I've been using the paper bag method for microwaving popcorn for a few months now, and it comes out tasting better, and is about a tenth of the cost, plus I can control the portions much easier.

I don't bother with any staples in the bag (as recommended), and the popcorn comes out fine (so long as you monitor the time and stop it as soon as the pops become infrequent).

Add real butter, and you've got yourself an easy treat (not one I'd want two times a day, though, that's just crazy).

I didn't do it out of health fears (not only do some people claim the "butter" is dangerous, but also the little metal coated heating element in the bag emits a toxin, I think those claims are the usual hippie crap, but they are out there), just didn't like how greasy they make the stuff, plus the price difference is huge.

Also, I think some folks have a genetic predisposition to having their lungs screwed up by any particulate matter, whether it be smog, cigarette smoke, or microwave popcorn residue.

I don't doubt a few people in popcorn factories and this extreme popcorn fan suffered illnesses related to their exposure, but I don't think their illnesses are tied solely to the product.

Just like living in an urban area like Southern California or Brooklyn increases your likelihood of having respiratory illness, but only a small percentage of people develop serious symptoms.

The real question is, do you alter those workplaces (like a popcorn plant, or coal mining, or waitstaff at a club in a state that still allowed indoor smoking) to be safe for everyone, regardless of genetic predisposition towards harm, or do you find a way to screen workers who would be likely to find a particular job unsuitable during the hiring phase?

Would such screening be considered illegal discrimination (rather than prudent discrimination)?

Do all products have to be safe for everyone, or do you treat sensitivity to 'popcorn dust' the way you do serious food allergies, label the product and expect people to know their own health situation well enough to avoid harming themselves?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Use one of these hand cranked popcorn poppers with about 1 tbsp of peanut oil

http://www.kitchenemporium.com/cgi-bin/kitchen/prod/21np581.html

A little butter and kosher salt, never granulated salt. Less than 3 minutes from start to bowl.

Artifical anything is going to be bad for us. Everything natural....in moderation is the way to go.

Well, I guess you can scratch popcorn off the Edwards Administration's list of approved foods. It doesn't matter anyway, since we are turning our food into ethanol at a higher energy cost per gallon than just using gasoline in the first place We are creating shortages of corn, driving up the cost of beef, milk, butter, tamales and anything else down the corn food chain. Soon the price of a bowl of popcorn and butter will make it so, that only the rich like Edwards can afford to have a bowl and watch a movie.

Ann Althouse said...

"a potatoe peeler..."

Now we know Dan Quayle's screen name.

Peter Palladas said...

Pray tell, what is this popcorn of which you speak? We have it not on our planet.

'Tis perhaps modern musical renditions of a peculiarly sentimental variety?

Of that we have much sadly, though I've never known it to be cooked by any method.

But should it be a cure for a toothache then haste to let me know, for I should drown in it for the very relief of pain.

Trooper York said...

You spell potato....I spell potatoe...lets call the whole thing...a typo...or perhaps a typoe....sorry teacher.

Palladian said...

"Artifical anything is going to be bad for us. Everything natural....in moderation is the way to go."

Natural/artificial is a false dichotomy. "Nature" produces some of the most potent and lethal toxins known to science. Many humans are just as likely to have adverse and allergic reactions from exposure to "natural" items such as cats, penicillin, ragweed pollen, poison oak, and bee stings as they are to any so-called artificial materials. Most of the substances popularly considered to be "artificial" are synthesized versions of naturally occurring materials, or materials produced artificially from a "natural" industrial feedstock. Remember that even petroleum is an all-natural material of organic origin.

The substance in question in this popcorn case, diacetyl, is a naturally-occuring product. It's artificial in the sense that it is being used in popcorn to imitate butter, but it's not an artificial material. So stop citing this false dichotomy between the supposed "goodness" of "natural materials" and the evil of the "artificial". It's strictly romantic nonsense.

blake said...

It's plastic, but we love it.

Actually, we always made popcorn in the pan. At some point, however, that became "cooking".

Susan said...

With few non-microwave popcorn choices available in the grocery store, I was surprised that many commenters make it the old fashioned way like I do. And like several others, I make mine with olive oil. Even without diacetyl, you know any fat that stays solid at room temperature in those bags has to be crap. Olive oil is healthy and I was amazed how good it tasted the first time I used it.

mcg said...

First they come for diacetyl... next it will be dihydrogen monoxide...

Freeman Hunt said...

Is everyone on here a gourmet? Every time food is mentioned on this blog there are multiple comments about how the food should best be prepared. I like those comments and find them helpful, but...

Am I the only one here who also buys and eats things like microwave pizza and string cheese?

John Burgess said...

Personally, I prefer to use a combination of olive oil and peanut oil when popping corn.

But I do consume microwave popcorn, too, at maybe six bags a year. I'm not sweating my diacetyl exposure.

And what's the problem with string cheese? There are a lot of 'natural' string cheeses out there.

class-factotum said...

any fat that stays solid at room temperature in those bags has to be crap.

I beg to differ. Bacon grease (the kind you pour into a jar after you have fried bacon) stays fairly solid at room temperature and it's one of the most delicious things on earth. It is excellent melted and poured onto popcorn.