Illustrations by Rhia Cook // @rhiacookmakes
"What did you have for dinner last night?"
I ask Brandie, my co-worker who sits across from me. Only the top of her head is visible over the grey fabric partitioned cubicle wall. I hear her put down her coffee, and type something quickly. Her computer screen lights up, and she pauses before opening her email. We’ve sat next to each other for over a year and we instantly bonded over our favourite food bloggers. We both love Angela Liddon.
"Tyler is out of town so I made popcorn," she replies.
"Oooh. I love popcorn for dinner."
Popcorn is the thanksgiving dinner of solo meals. It is equal parts filling, exciting and decadent. It's comfort food but not in a macaroni and cheese kind-of-way. It combines the novelty of breakfast for dinner mixed with the decadence of chocolate for dinner, but less guilty. I would argue against anyone who might suggest it's not a meal at all.
There is something uniquely satisfying about coming home from work, pulling on an oversized hoodie and making the adult decision to have popcorn for dinner. Sure, there are probably other things in your refrigerator that you could make, and depending on how you feel, you might still make them. But for starters, it's going to be popcorn—so you are faced with preparing your favourite combination of this staple meal. I've kept my suggestion tied closely to the classic, nothing too fancy—certainly nothing that requires caramel or specialty seasoning. Popcorn for dinner is a no-fuss meal but it doesn't have to be plain. I encourage you to experiment both in flavour and preparation style, after all, this is your night of feral freedom. I want you to enjoy it.
Air popping machine, microwave or stove top
My preferred method is using an air popping machine because the kernels are lighter and fluffier compared to making the microwave variety. I love the sound of pouring the kernels into the cylindrical container, and setting them to launch. Now, I'm in no way shaming the microwave poppers. There's nothing wrong with gripping a scalding hot paper bag, ripping it open and diving in. Though too often, I end up with a bowl of burnt and unpopped kernels. My microwave and I aren't on good terms.
Once your popcorn is done, the next step is really up to you. Some nights you want a bit of sweet and salty, other nights you want spicy, or maybe a cream and herb number. You may even prefer a store-bought bag of flavoured popcorn, and honestly, some of them are delightfully good now.
What I like:
Melted vegan spread with a pinch of Maldon sea salt and castor sugar
What my friends like:
Paige: Melted butter and a generous dashing of Hy's seasoning salt (salt, chilli pepper, mustard, dehydrated garlic and onion)
Sheena: Melted coconut oil and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt
Kelly: Melted butter, dill and grated parmesan cheese (either fresh or on-a-shelf variety)
Alyshia: Melted butter and Clubhouse Montreal Steak Spice (black pepper, paprika, kosher salt, granulated garlic and onion, mustard, coriander, red pepper)
Lexie's piece was originally published in Issue 3 of Potluck. Pick up your own copy of the issue today!