I’m getting a little stir crazy here on day four of babysitting Miss Pukes-a-Lot.  I don’t think the anti-nausea meds are working as well as the vet would like, but while she’s still eating, drinking, and being social, I’m going to put off taking her back to the needle factory.  Here’s hoping that’s the right call.

Constant kitty patrol has allowed me to catch up on my big pile of magazines and backlog of emails, though.  I even read a few of my cancer newsletters that I’ve been avoiding.  I’m abso-frickin-stoked that I did!  My dreams have come true!  It turns out one of my all-time favorite foods is full of cancer-fighting antioxidants.

I no longer need to feel guilty for substituting a giant bowl of popcorn in place of dinner.  Who knew the white fluffy goodness was even better for me than oatmeal?

“We really were surprised by the levels of polyphenols we found in popcorn,” Dr. Vinson said. “I guess it’s because it’s not processed. You get all the wonderful ingredients of the corn undiluted and protected by the skin. In my opinion it’s a good health food.”

Yay – that’s my opinion, too!  Of course, the study was probably funded by Orville Redenbacher and Morton’s Salt but I’ll take any good news I can get.  I suppose you might also argue that it must not work terribly well considering the volumes of popcorn I eat and that whole still-got-cancer thing.  Details, details.

I come by my love of popcorn honestly.  No one eats more popcorn than my mother, not even the Redenbacher family.  (And SHE’s never had cancer so there’s some more pro-pop propaganda.)  I’d guestimate that she serves popcorn as a meal (no not a snack or side – the complete and total meal) at least three times a week.  People special request her popcorn when inviting her to their home for a potluck.  Pegger takes her popcorn very seriously.

She even has a special aluminum pot for cooking her favorite food.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that pot used for any other purpose.  It was once shiny black with a little white decorative pattern  around the lid, but now it’s just a muted, flat, charcoal color flecked across the predominantly naked aluminum.  It also has a little tiny adjustable vent on the lid that allows her to pop with precision.  It’s by far her favorite piece of cookware.  She’s tried others – many, many others – but none have matched the popcorn popping ability of this bad boy.

She’s not a purist though.  Pegger enjoys all varieties of popcorn.  When she visits, I try to strategically plan our trips through Port Authority so that she doesn’t get distracted by the seductive scent of fresh popped.  She once confessed that the only reason she bothers going to movies at the theater is for the popcorn.  I’m sure she’d attend more Broadway shows (and maybe even stake awake in them) if we could lure her with the promise of her own box of warm, salty goodness.

I believe popcorn was one of the first solid foods Thom and I ate as small children.  No, I shit you not.  Apparently Mom would pop up a ginormous bowl in her trusty aluminum (then still black) pan and she and Dad would sit together on the couch to watch a little TV.  Thom and I would sit on the carpet and wait for the games to begin.  Mom and Dad would then take their time, plucking each individual kernel from the bowl and slowly bringing them to their mouths.  Then they’d bite off and eat the hull, leaving only the puffy, soft pop piece.  This delectable morsel was then discarded onto the carpet as Thom and I would crawl about, plucking the deliciousness from between the fibers of shag, and devouring them with great relish.

To this day, I still eat my popcorn that way.  Well, I don’t throw the popped parts onto the floor and channel my inner Hoover, but if I’m the only one eating, I bite off and eat all the hulls  first, saving the pops for last.  There’s just something so enjoyable about filling your mouth with those salty, slightly soggy puffs.  I don’t think there’s a similar sensation.  The only thing that springs to mind might possibly be dry chewing gum – but that doesn’t begin to do it justice.

More than once in our dating life, Rocco DiSpirito plopped down next to me on the couch and shoved his hand into a half-eaten bowl of my popcorn.  I’d just giggle as his grin would turn to a grimace of horror as his mind registered the soggy sensation the nerves in his fingers were reporting.  By this time he’d have his bulging handful about two inches above the bowl.  Slowly his hand would open and release the kernels, which would tumble back into the bowl.  I guess it was really just most of the kernels.  The freshly spit out pops were still moist and would stick to his fingers stubbornly.  I’d listen to him angrily list the many ways my habit was beyond disgusting as he flicked off the remaining pops and sought out hand sanitizer, all the while giggling demonically to myself.

Guess who doesn’t have to share her bowl of anti-oxidants anymore?


  1. Elly, You are so right. The delicious meal we had while at SML filled me with great memories. We played lots of marbles, but your mom always dealt the fifth hand (for you), and then we all boo-hooed. The only thing that could have topped the trip would have been to see Rocco. I’m so glad to hear Simone is doing better. Take care dear one.

  2. I have to add this comment from my cousin Kim. It seems the popcorn obsession runs throughout the Middleton clan:

    The special pan must be a Middleton tradition! Dad had his own pan that was STRICTLY for popcorn too. The lid to his had a handle that matched up with the pan handle so you could hold them together, but there was also a latch that held the lid in place too. The pan also came with a vent in the top with a flap that covered it, perfect for letting out a bit of steam. The bottom edges were rounded which made for perfect shaking to keep all the kernels moving during the popping. I can’t say I follow your eating method but I am known to pop my own PAN and layer on the REAL butter and salt and everyone else can fend for themselves. Microwave is only tolerable when I don’t have the energy to do the job right and then it must be the Homestyle variety that is made by Pop Weaver, I think… Anyway, apparently this must have been a Middleton trait. No one else I know pops or takes their corn as seriously.

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