Popcorn without a Microwave
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.
April 26, 2013 @ 7:37 am
I’m german and really enjoy reading the blogs of expats living in germany and experience the country through their eyes. I know that the post is already a year old, but maybe your machine broke and you’re looking for a new one 😉
You can find popcorn machines also in germany:
And they also have a cinema style version:
Keep on blogging!
Making Pancakes From A Bottle - Grounded Traveler
September 21, 2012 @ 8:02 am
[…] yeah and I like a challenge. I’ve learned to melt butter on a stove for popcorn, so I am totally up for makign pancakes from a […]
May 3, 2012 @ 8:55 am
I remember the days of having to cook popcorn without a microwave. You used to have those aluminum foil type packages that you would hold over the stove and cook. Man how times have changed!
May 3, 2012 @ 9:34 am
Wow, see I don’t remember those at all. Maybe on a TV commercial, but never in our kitchen.
May 2, 2012 @ 12:41 pm
I have the same popper and am finding popcorn in every corner of the kitchen too!
Also good with salt and freshly grated parmesan or other hard cheese
May 3, 2012 @ 9:34 am
Maybe it is a design flaw, though we didn’t seem to have many choices in buying machines. It works fine, just need to figure out the one problem. The cheese idea does sound interesting, will have to try.
May 1, 2012 @ 8:52 pm
Hahah quaint. I make that kind of popcorn still… although nobody makes it as well as my grandpa, or with as much butter lol
May 1, 2012 @ 5:24 pm
Mmm popcorn! We also use a popcorn-flinging shield – have you considered using a regular kitchen towel? It’s washable, less waste, etc. and it doesn’t get as hot as the foil 🙂 I also agree with cliff1976 re: melting butter on the stove… if you keep it on really low and stir it constantly it won’t scorch your pan, and it’s much quicker than the water bath.
May 3, 2012 @ 9:31 am
I like the idea of a towel, but how do you attach it to the popcorn maker? I keep the foil between runs so there isnt that much waste. I will keep trying.
The problem with the pan for melting butter for me wasn’t scorching it was half the mess and half trying to spoon it out. I may try it again and just see.
May 1, 2012 @ 2:11 pm
Mmm popcorn. We pop it in oil on the stove, like my mom did growing up. I also just melt the butter straight on the stove.
Now I’m hungry!
May 3, 2012 @ 9:29 am
I can imagine if you pop it on the stove already, melting butter on the stove is the way to go as well. My mom always had an air popper so I have never seen it popped on a stove and would have no clue how.
May 1, 2012 @ 1:25 pm
“Mild gesäuert” is salted butter, as opposed to “Süßrahm.” Some kind soul posted this helpful guide on our blog some months ago:
Have you ever tried melting butter in a pan on your stove? Your water bath looks like it’ll work, but is it perhaps more complicated than necessary? Maybe I’m missing something here.
May 1, 2012 @ 2:13 pm
That dairy chart is awesome!
May 3, 2012 @ 9:28 am
I had seen the “mild gesäuert”, but I had no idea what that meant. I kind of remember buying it at one point and not liking it so well. That is an awesome flowchart.
We did try melting butter in a pan, but even in our smallest pot it seems a little overkill. I found it more difficult to spoon out of onto the popcorn. The whole pan seems to get covered and then needs to be washed. The water bath just takes some patience and then we can spoon the butter out from the measuring cup easier.
May 1, 2012 @ 1:19 pm
We are thrilled to know you can find corn kernels in freiburg! I was worried that I would need to bring a suitcase worth when packing. I’m definitely a salt & butter person and love our movie nights. Can you get American films easily? Is there a decent Netflix type option? All these comforts of home are so important I think.
May 1, 2012 @ 5:25 pm
Judy – Netflix is online, so you can access your account anywhere in the world (except maybe China) that you have access to the internet 🙂
May 1, 2012 @ 6:42 pm
Hi Nicole, I just wasn’t sure if you need to keep an address in the U.S. to use Netflix. I’m sure there are probably ways to get around this!
May 3, 2012 @ 9:32 am
That is good to hear. I have heard there are IP restrictions living here trying to access Netflix.
May 3, 2012 @ 9:26 am
Yup, I have seen them in both Rewe and Edeka, two grocery store chains. I imagine they are other places as well, but definitely available.
We brought a number of DVDs with us. There is something called LoveFilm that it like Netflix and somehow associated with Amazon. I have not tried it though. Buying movies is not such a problem as the original soundtrack is nearly always there even if the German is written on the package.