When I was not quite 18 years old, I went off to college. I started in the summer. My grandpa bought me an air-pop popcorn popper, The Popcorn Pumper. I’ll be 35 next month. That was half my life ago.
My grandpa was a funny old cuss. As a child, he crossed the country from Kansas to L.A. in an actual covered wagon. At least that’s what he told me, but I was never sure what stories were actually true. He also told me about one night when he hitched a truck to an outhouse and towed that shitter through town while his friend was locked inside.
He owned an auto shop his whole life. Not surprising that my mom also married a mechanic.
Grandpa used to withhold pay from his employees in the early 70’s until they got haircuts. He wasn’t payin’ no longhairs.
When you asked him how he was doing, he would either curtly reply, “sick”, or happily exclaim,”finer than frog hair.” If you did something worth praise, he’d emphatically let you know that “you won the fur-lined vinegar bottle.” I have no idea what anyone would want with a fur-lined vinegar bottle, but I heard it so often that sometimes, it still comes out of my mouth.
I miss my grandpa. He died not long after I went off to school.
I still have that air popper. In fact, I have used it several nights a week for almost all of my adult life. Popcorn a staple around here. My husband calls it “Diva Corn”. I can’t stand microwaved popcorn. It’s not the same thing.
Over the past two weeks, the Popcorn Pumper has been starting to go. It’s burning the corn and not blowing it out. I’ve tried cleaning it out but the problem is just getting worse. A new air popper is only about $20. The investment in a new popper is mostly emotional.
So I guess I’m saying goodbye to a kitchen appliance that has lasted through seven cities, about a dozen homes, plenty of jobs, more than one marriage and every other “phase” imaginable. It’s been with me my entire adult life. Plus, it came from my grandpa.
I’m not quite ready to replace it yet; it may take me a while. Here’s one of my many popcorn recipes. I love the stuff!
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernals—hint! try experimenting with other varieties of kernals
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- chili powder
Pop the popcorn in an air popper. Melt the butter in the microwave. Pour the butter and squeeze the lemon over your popcorn. Mix thoroughly with two spoons. Sprinkle with chili powder and salt to taste.