Food

The ultimate entertainment companion

1:09 PM

Zoo, circus show, movie, TV night, theme park, county fair, football or cricket match…think about them and the one munch food you will associate with them.

To me the common food denominator to all these events is this one:


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Popcorn! The good old popped little grain of corn, that we can all in one way or another associate with one childhood event, I travelled a lot since my childhood, and I think that little fluffy white munch was always around in a form or another. Sweet, salty…coated, sprinkled, seasoned…popcorn was despite it’s avatar still familiar, and wherever I went always associated with a good time. Popcorn could be a daily snack, it could be a playground snack, a hiking snack, but for some reason it never has, at least in my life and in the life of many I know. The phrase “Bring on the popcorn” in inevitably announcing a good time to come. It’s the companion of a movie date, a TV night, it witnesses friends remaking the world from it’s central position on a table in good company of a few drinks, it probably saw you celebrate a birthday or two. It will keep you with one or two feet in the real world while watching a scary movie, comforting you that what happens on the screen will stay there. And it has probably amazed you and entertained you while it was getting popped when you were a kid.
If you are ancient enough, like me, you might even think microwave popcorn as convenient as it is is a sacrilege. It ruined that fun ritual of heating oil in a pan, waiting beside the stove with your ears wide opened anticipating the first popping sound, and the staccato that follows that first pop, the dying of it, the careful peeking under the lid to see if it’s over, the last few kernel viciously waiting to pop once you thought  it was safe to remove said lid. Then came the choice of flavours, sweet salty, buttery…The joy of making popcorn!

When I moved to India, loved the fact that it got some spice, I was used to the salty one, sugary one and in some place the caramel and fudge coated ones. Once in Germany I even saw them come in flavours such as banana, orange, grape, strawberry. It was in Europa Park for those who wondered, and before Harry Potter introduced us to every flavour beans, there was every flavour popcorn, and you could buy a pack of that one there (except all the flavours were yummy sweet ones, no chance of liver, tripe or bogey flavoured one). I never even thought of trying to make some chilli flavoured one back in Switzerland, or that it was even an option, but in pubs we were often served “masala popcorn” when I was living in Bangalore, while not my favourite to the point of wanting me to make some at home, I’ll rank it much higher than butterscotch popcorn on my list. But lower than the pepper and salt one our neighbourhood DVD rental shop in Bangalore was handing us free with a DVD rental.  
I don’t like butter flavoured popcorn, I prefer the salty thing, or the hot chocolate powder coated ones (the ones in the picture are of that kind), I don’t mind masala popcorn, could not care much about butterscotch ones, or half of the flavours in that German popcorn that amazed me as a kid, but the constant is that I still eat it at a fun event, or on a cozy rainy afternoon while watching cartoons with Ishita, and prefer to make my own if I have the corn kernels around (my local supermarket sells them less and less often…curse you microwave convenience). And while I reminisce about my childhood making them, my daughter is not quite getting it, she hasn’t really mastered the pleasure of delayed gratification just yet, and the lesson popcorn gives you in this field. She has developed a taste for certain flavours though: masala is yuck, butter and salty yummy, chocolate will do if mommy insist on that one being served. But she started making that association that will last a life time between the popped kernel and fun, it’s mall, food, TV food, movie food, but never something she even asked once to have in her tiffin or to take to the park.
Amazing how a simple little golden grain, managed to tie itself to only one type of event isn’t it?

Oh and if you wonder about why I suddenly feel like blogging about popcorn, it’s because I am organizing photos on my hard drive and realised I took that one last year intending on blogging about a cosy winter evening in company of a Swiss avatar of the popcorn in question, the chocolate powder coated one, but then we were up to our neck in flat hunting, relocation, Christmas, New Year and in the midst of it all I totally forgot about it until today. But we are now at the end of the monsoon, and the original vibe associated with that picture is long gone, so I let my inspiration take me and wrote this one instead. The feeling however is similar, popcorn is still comfort food, always will be and is the ultimate entertainment companion.

1 comments

  1. Less familiar with Gujarati Cuisine, but yes South Indian one is far more tangy than North Indian one, it has a far more subtle spice palette too, and you can often still taste the actual taste of the vegetable in a south Indian dish as opposed to a north Indian one where the spices have a tendency to overpower dishes.

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