When I was a kid, my dad made popcorn on Friday nights and we watched television. I seem to think we watched a lot of the "Incredible Hulk" television series, although I vaguely remember once being terrified that Jaws was over the arm of the recliner my brother and I were sitting in, so I guess we probably watched "Jaws" at least once, as well.
When mom was home, it was "Trapper John, MD."
Dad would pop popcorn in the air popper with the little metal cup you put the butter into in the back so that while the popcorn was popping, the butter would melt.
The popcorn always went into the trademark large yellow Tupperware bowl, where dad would lovingly douse it in butter and salt before we all sat and ate our fill. Licking buttery fingers, laughing, watching TV together and playfully fighting over the "old maids" (unpopped kernels). Some of my happier recurrent childhood memories.
Once I left home and headed for the dorms and later to an apartment and then a home, I pretty much forgot what true fresh popcorn tasted like since the microwave and a cheap bag of Orville Redenbacher were just a mere few minutes from a bag of fluffy white with just a few old maids. But oh my goodness, the difference between a bag of mic'd popcorn and something fresh from your kitchen is just unbelievable, yet easily forgotten in a hectic lifestyle where 123 start makes a lunch go round.
When Alex turned 4, he started asking Scott to make popcorn, which up to that point was a very, very rare treat. But his pleading "Dada, you make THE BEST popcorn" is hard to resist and now we usually have it at least every other Friday or Saturday evening, complete with family television watching. (Although at Nick's request, Scott made it two Tuesdays ago after Alex was fast asleep only to have him awake horrified on Wednesday morning that we had made popcorn without him-promptly satisfied with the inclusion of a small bag with his cold lunch.)
Popcorn making at our house is a different affair than it was for me growing up, since we now use a stir-crazy rather than an air popper and oil-popped popcorn just has that better, (admittedly more unhealthy!) fresher taste.
The Tupperware bowl is only offered in red these days, too, but it still holds a family load of popcorn, and Alex comes up the stairs first with four plastic bowls, four paper towels, and a smile that would be contagious even to a Grinch. Followed by Scott with the big red bowl and usually an errand run by Nick or myself for something to drink with our family treat.
The stir-crazy only allots just enough old maids to allow me to fill my quota since the kids don't like them, and television options these days are a little less limited; we can usually find something in the G to PG range that won't have Alex up with nightmares about sharks swimming around his recliner, but won't have the rest of us bored to tears, either.
Salt, butter and a big bowl of love and family time. It doesn't get much better than that.
Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.
The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.
Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to OnMilwaukee.com.