By Mark Bittman
May 6, 2008
New York Times
I ran across this article and found it fascinating, given the amount of microwave popcorn Kat and the kids do. From the article:
In one of the comments, there was the following:
All you do is take popcorn — say, 1/4 cup — and put it in a brown paper bag (preferably the large lunch bags sold in supermarkets ), then fold over the top a few times (some people recommend staples, but it seems the bags can catch fire that way and why risk it; the staple is unnecessary), then pop until the kernels stop, which is high heat for two minutes in many cases.
You can add oil to the bag at the beginning if you like, but this will yield a slightly greasy bag (so — you use a bowl). And of course you can top the finished product with melted butter or any spice you want. This enables you to have microwaved popcorn but with your choice of popcorn and oil (I like peanut), and, if you were to make popcorn daily, to save hundreds of dollars a year. At every supermarket in the country, microwave popcorn sells for at least $4 a pound and usually closer to $6. Ordinary popcorn is about $1 a pound, or less; good organic popcorn is about $2 a pound.
Some people complained about microwaves not popping all the corn or burning some of it and others seemed to have no problem with this, so I imagine it all depends on the microwave settings. You probably have to experiment to find the best ones. One thing is clear, you don't need oil to pop common popcorn in a microwave.
Why bother with the bag? You can pop the popcorn right in a bowl, covered with a plate. Just need a closed environment so that the water inside the kernels turns to steam and pops. . .You can put flavorings and oils at the bottom of the bowl, or season afterwards. And there’s no waste!
Also, the comments gave all kinds of seasoning ideas, including Old Bay and bacon fat.
Choose your poison.