One of the aspects of living abroad is finding the things that help make you feel better, less out in the wilds. For us one of these things was fresh popcorn, so Ali and I bought a popcorn maker as a treat for ourselves. We have movie night fairly often and now make our own popcorn both as a date night and as a way to make things feel more like home. Thankfully it is pretty easy to buy the kernels, the problem has been melting the butter without a microwave.
Sweet vs Salty
One of the big popcorn differences comes as the debate between sweet and salty popcorn. I don’t mind caramel corn or the like, but to sprinkle sugar instead of salt on a movie style big bowl of it, seems wrong. I am definitely in the salt and butter category. Even microwave popcorn is available at most grocery stores in both a sweet and a salty variety. Though only one brand and individual packaging instead of the vast array of brands, flavors and packs at home.
A Note on Butter
Butter in the US is very often salted. It lasts longer this way apparently. You can buy unsalted butter, but you have to search for it. The big piles are usually salted.
This is not the case in Germany. I have not seen salted butter here. (I also haven’t dug too much for it either.) The upshot of this is two fold. First, butter tastes slightly different here. Secondly, I find I need more salt on my popcorn in order for the buttery taste I am looking for to come out.
Melting Butter without Microwave
Microwaves are not unknown in Germany, we just decided we don’t need one. The hardest part has been figuring out the melting of the butter. We are both used to having a microwave to melt butter back home. The solution has been a measuring cup (thanks Mom for bringing me them a couple years ago) in a bowl that has very hot water in it. It takes some patience but works pretty good. Adaptability is the hallmark of a successful expat.
Another option is apparently to pop the popcorn and melt the butter in a frying pan with the popcorn. This is how my roommate used to do it to get the sugar on it. It seems like it might coat the popcorn better, but with a lot more work. And really I don’t want sugar on it, so it would really only be for the butter.
Popcorn in Photos
Again the nice popcorn bowl comes from home. We packed it in one suitcase or another. Filled with clothes it doesn’t actually take up much room. The cleverly crafted foil shield is a new trial. We were having issues with the popcorn going all over the kitchen. Seriously I find kernels, both popped and unpopped, all over and under things. I fashioned this shield to see if it worked. It seems to help a lot. I didn’t see so many flying kernels this time.
So really, not as easy as just tossing a bag in a microwave but it feels better making it. I remember the sound of the popcorn machine from Sunday afternoon childhood. Having the smell and taste of freshly popped popcorn is something I am quite happy to be able to get here in Germany. Pretty much the best 25euros we have spent in a while.