one man's ceiling
Sunday, April 15, 2007
  top-o-yer-corn
over at slashfood they've got a story asking people what they top their popcorn with and so far it's pretty pedestrian. the usual culprits are there -- flavored butters and salts, sweet and savory additions, bacon, cheese, hot sauce. what i want to know is" where are all the freaks?

i worked in movie theatres. before the bomb got dropped on coconut oil (what had been used for decades in the theatre biz, dropped because it was supposedly a "bad" oil) people used to request all kinds of toppings. parmesan cheese and brewers yeast were the top requests, season salt at the very least. sodium-free alternatives were also high in demand. eventually the condiment counter looked like a collection of refuge containers from the italian restaurant on the corner with shakers of all different sizes and hole openings. we even had to chain them down as people would take them into the theatres for their own personal use (selfish bastages!) and then leave them there, empty, sitting in pools of soda filth on the floor.

popcorn topping freaks? yeah, we saw them. hot sauce requests were common, and why these people couldn't be bothered to bring their own bottles along was beside me. i remember the one guy who really wanted ketchup and went a few doors down to a deli and got a handful of those little foil packages. mustard came up as well, and that almost intrigued me, because i like mustard on things most people don't.

but the king all-time topper of popcorn toppers came from a woman who ordered a large trough-sized cup of corn and requested we let her season it half way before moving on. people often requested we stop half way so they could salt (or have us add butter to) the bottom half for better distribution. that's not such an unusual request. but what she wanted was for us to sell her a bag of m&m's to sprinkle in the middle, then salted it and then had us add extra butter. to just the bottom half. then we filled it again, she had us knock a little off the top, sprinkled another bag of peanut m&m's on top, salted it and had us give extra butter.

understand this about the "extra butter" question at the snack bar; it may be one of the most expensive items to stock, but the reason theatre's try to go light on the butter is because there is a hidden cost of putting too much butter in the bag or cup -- dry cleaning. after a while a pool of butter is going to settle and either leak through the seams of the bag or through the bottom of the cup. you can't wax these containers the way you do drink cups because the wax will melt alongside the melted butter or when stored in a warming bin, so the best they can be is a coated paper that is resistant but not seep-proof. i cannot tell you the number of times people came out of the theatre with the tell-tale extra butter stain on their clothes demanding we pay for dry cleaning. folks, if you ask for extra, don't expect a theatre to also cover the cleaning bill for your indulgences.

i mention this not only as a public service but because we knew when we loaded up that m&m/butter/popcorn concoction that there would be a mess to clean somewhere down the road. at the end of the show we all swooped in to find the evidence. Like treasure hunters on the beach someone shouted "eureka!" and we all converged. there, on the floor, to our horror, we found it. the bucket was completely empty. she had eaten the entire thing. worse, the butter had melted the candy coating off the m&m's leaving a rainbow swirl of congealed butter about a quarter inch thick on the bottom. furtherworse, it appeared she had dredged her fingers through the butter leaving little furrows were her nails scooped up the candy butter that she would probably be licking off her fingertips for the coming week.

lest you think this was a one-off, may i direct you attention to the following recipe for popcorn cake? or perhaps this recipe? even emeril has a version, thought the recipe link doesn't work you can find the book pretty easy. if you're so inclined.

or perhaps this sounds more to your liking:
Harry & David’s Spooky Moose Munch, a wonderful combination of fluffy, crisp popcorn glazed with almond toffee and tossed with candied orange peels. The best part of this Halloween treat is that some of this divine popcorn creation is dipped into semi-sweet dark chocolate and drizzled over with orange-flavored chocolate. A gourmet treat everyone will enjoy.
people, need i remind you: it CORN! it's what we use to fatten livestock! do you really need further incentive to gorge yourselves on chocolate and sweets to the point of casual obesity?

now, what did i do with those leftover easter candies...

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Comments:
Yikes, those people were crazy. Even crazier is the amount of hands-on y'all let those people have. There's a very popular popcorn place here that does a gajillion flavors. Like dill pickle or bubble gum, etc.
 
So my favorite snack in the world is popcorn. I eat it all kinds of ways and constantly try new concoctions. I love nutritional yeast and soy sauce. I love garlic, cayenne, olive oil, ground rosemary, and s&p. But I DO have to admit something.

The best thing when I am PMSing - the only thing that reeeally hits the spot - is movie theater popcorn with a bag of peanut m&ms. I don't dump them in, but I carefully portion out the right popcorn to m&m ratio.

But yeah, it's my fav.
 
Yee.
 
wow, creepy. I think I was just posting to your site as you were posting to mine - don't feel compelled to publish this
 
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