I love popcorn, liberally buttered and salted to perfection. I grew up with an electric popcorn popper you put the oil in and then the kernals and plugged it in and minutes later you had yummy goodness.
For a while I succumbed to the "healthy" chatter of air popped popcorn, but even with buttered it never had the right texture and the air popper found it's way to the back of the bottom cabinet to finally see daylight when someone on the Idaho Flybabies list expressed interest in getting one, so I sent it to a new home.
For a while I used a microwave popcorn popper, which works pretty nicely, tho you have to keep a very sharp eye on things as it is very easy to burn the popcorn, and the smell of burnt microwaved popcorn is pretty icky.
I succumbed to the ease of microwave popcorn, in all the different flavors. It is pretty tasty stuff, but after a while it all begins to taste alike and much of it started having a chemically aftertaste that wasn't nice.
So now I am back to popping my own popcorn, using the flat bottomed wok I'd bought after graduating college and popping it on the stove top. I buy my popcorn in big bags or bulk and it is decidely cheaper then the packets of microwave popcorn.
I pour a bit of oil in the bottom and add my popcorn. I stir it up a bit to coat the kernals and then turn the heat on to medium high (electric stove). I've taken to heart a tip I got from Alton Brown on Good Eats from his popcorn episode,, I add my popcorn salt at the beginning and stir that in also. I then turn the heat on to medieum high and let the wok sit with the lid on while the oil heats up. When the first kernal pops, I start to shake the wok over the heat, letting it rest once in a while to let the heat build up.
Speaking of shaking, it is the same motion one uses when using Jiffy Pop popcorn, which is one of my childhood favorites, but I was looking at one in the store the other day and it looks like they made the container smaller. Very sad, I have fond memories of popping Jiffy Pop when I was a kid, watching the foil on top poof up and anticipating the yummy popcorn goodness when it was ready.
Once the popcorn is done I put it in a big bowl and drizzle some butter I melted in the microwave over and toss to coat. If I have parmesean cheese (usually the green can stuff) I will sprinkle that on also.
I have discovered a very yummy way of making popcorn. Someone posted this to the Good Eats Fan page board. Instead of vegetable or peanut oil, use melted bacon fat to pop with.
I always have bacon fat stashed in the fridge for cooking, so last night I melted a goodly sized tablespoon's worth in the wok over low heat and then added my popcorn and salt. Once popped, into the bowl it went and we enjoyed heaven while watching the race. The popcorn have a lovely hint of bacon flavor, which was nice as even tho I AODRE bacon, I didn't want it to overpower my popcorn. I think next time I make it that way I'll see about sprinkling in some bacon bits to just give it an extra pow to the flavor.