Does Popcorn Make You Happier?


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Have you ever wondered about the relationship between stress and popcorn? … No? I didn’t think so. I know I’m kind of a nerd, but I think all the time about why we get stressed out and what we can do about it. And there’s something cheap and easy that I’ve discovered:  if you make popcorn in your own kitchen, the sound of the popping is a happy sound… the smell of it is happy, and so is the actual eating of it.

Therefore… ta da!  My prescription for your happiness this weekend is to MAKE POPCORN! Have fun with your family. Kids love popcorn–it sounds and tastes festive…like a party!

No, it doesn’t count if you buy a plastic bag of the ready-made popped corn. We need to involve as many of your senses as possible, and making it by popping the kernels really does become a whole-body sensory activity.

You can either buy the bags of ready-to-pop corn at your grocery or convenience store, or… even cheaper and healthier… you can do what I do and air-pop it in your microwave.  This is lower calorie than popping on the stove top in oil, plus you don’t have a pan to wash which makes it ecologically friendly as well.

My recipe for fabulous stress-reducing popcorn:

1 paper lunch bag

1/3 cup un-popped popcorn kernels

Pour the kernels into the bag. Fold the top of the bag over about an inch, crease the fold and then fold it one more time, again about an inch, so you are closing the bag without tape, glue or staples (don’t use any of those!)

Lay the bag flat on the turntable of your microwave.

Cook approximately 3 minutes on high. Listen for the popping noise to slow down, and stop the cooking process when there are more than 3-4 seconds between pops, to avoid scorching the cooked popcorn.

Carefully remove the bag from the microwave — it won’t be as hot as those commercial bags that have a heat element embedded in the paper bag, but still– be careful!  The fold may have opened at the top of the bag, so take out the bag without spilling the popped corn.

Empty the bag into a big bowl.

Season as desired.

I like to drizzle olive oil all over it, then sprinkle on sea salt — yummy and healthy! Popcorn is a whole grain and low in calories unless you really pour on the butter or oil. Keep a light hand with your seasonings. At first, if you’re used to drenching your popcorn with butter or buttery-flavored oil, your taste buds might protest, but with persistence and an open mind, you can retrain your tongue to enjoy the real flavor of the popcorn itself without a whole lot of additions to it.

I hope you enjoy a fun way to manage your stress… while smelling, seeing, tasting, touching and hearing the adventure of corn popping in your own kitchen.

Comments? What are your fave popcorn toppings?

with love,

Evelyn Brooks

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