Welcome to 1990. I don’t know how real this memory is, like most of my childhood ones, but I do remember the frequent excitement and anticipation of fresh popcorn late at night while watching movies with my family. We used to be 7, my three older brothers, my two older cousins (also boys) and me. The littlest I always got stuck with running around to get what the boys wanted. Ok and sometimes what I also wanted!
I remember the patter of my small feet, the feeling of being this tiny skinny thing, usually in a summer dress, or one of the boys big t-shirts, crazy messy hair and full of energy. Minus being tiny and the small feet not much has changed 20 years later.
My aunt, my phupi, has lived with us all our lives. She is a surrogate parent, and sometimes more than that to all of us. For years we grew up on her delicious cooking, and demanded her to make us popcorn late at night during our movie marathons. Somehow I never remember her making a face or being angry with what now I realize is a pretty insane request – 2 AM fresh popcorn please – and lets remember its 1990 – no microwaves!
Its 2010, and recently while I was in Mexico, I had fresh popcorn again, non microwave packaged popcorn after what felt like decades. It was delicious. Everyone at the training would eat a normal portion and I would over eat, hoarding as much of the popcorn as I could. It took me back to these delicious memories of my childhood where each moment really was full, nothing about the future really worried me, and nothing about the past really mattered enough.
20 years later, I asked my phupi, (we all call her Appa), who is now MashAllah 70 years old, to make me some popcorn as a snack. The setting has changed, there are no more brothers, or cousins, there is just me and my parents and 10 pm is now my late night :). We begin our popcorn adventure. And for the first time I actually watched her make it. Take a pot, melt some butter and put some salt. Mix it up and then add these tiny dried corn kernels. Hold the lid down so no air gets in. (you can use a pressure cooker or make do like we did with just a regular pot). And after a few minutes, you start hearing the familiar pop….pop…poppppp…we peeked in to see and of course the popcorn had started to burn!
Alas, 20 years later its hard to get it perfect the first time around though the ones that survived still tasted so good! What fun to not sit in front of the microwave, absorbing radioactive rays while you watch the minute dial go down. instead take those same few minutes and watch how a small rough, tough, kernel can transform into a fluffy, one of a kind, (and tasty) white flower, just by adding pressure, heat, and some buttery love.