We've been here in Pretoria for a little over 2 months now. And not having nearly the same difficulties settling in here as we did in England. I'll say it's to do with the nice weather, the kids being older, me being more prepared and sure of myself in a new country, lack of isolation and friends, and better foodstuffs.
The grocers here are better overall at stocking the items we are used to. Or at least a really close equal. The culture shock isn't as great this time around. We can find many products familiar to us, either being literally brands we have in the states, or the same prepackaged foods with a different brand name. That makes it so much easier when the kids want something like Frosted Flakes and you can find them. By the way, Kelloggs breakfast cereals and Cheerios can be found in South Africa. Fabulous.
So while we try our best to be good parents and feed our kids a variety of whole foods (and we do a really good job of it most times, trying to stay away from prepackaged and processed foods) I have to learn to cook a little more from the hip and not be so crazy about having to have a recipe. (Though I will say that my recipes have held me in good stead when necessary, and I'm getting better at trying things out in the kitchen.)
So one of my ventures into "fly" cooking is trying to pop popcorn without the use of the microwave. Don't all shout at once. Half of you I can hear telling me "what's wrong with the bag in the nuker?", the other half I can hear you moaning about the "trifecta of evil in microwave popcorn" as quoted by annette scott. (I'm chuckling to myself. I need to find a way to use that phrase again.).
Anyhow, as I've mentioned there are many products available to us here. Including said microwave popcorn. But it's pretty pricey and I do worry about what they pass as "oil" in those bags. So, I thought i would give it a shot on the stovetop, in a pot, with no fancy schmancy machine to do the work for me.
Now to some of you this might not be a big deal, nay simple, but for me this was foreign territory. My earliest memory of popcorn is the Jiffy pop foil tray. I loved those things. I know they are still available in the states, but here, not so much. But hella fun! I remember my Dad standing over the coils on the stove while me and my brother watched that aluminum foil plump up. Man, that stuff couldn't pop fast enough.
Next I remember the "StirCrazy" being the popular mode of popping. Again, lots of fun to watch.
Then came the miraculous invention of the microwave popcorn bag. Man was that awesome or what. Popcorn all greasy in less than three minutes. Wham Bam Thank you Ma'am.
I've even made popcorn (and kettle corn) in a big theatre machine. That was some fun. Hated cleaning the pot out though, especially after the sugar in the kettle corn.
So my history with the popcorn is vast and varied. So why not try to go back to basics and low tech? Guess I never really knew how. So, as usual, I found myself a recipe (ha ha, yeah, I know) and tried it out today.
I used organic coconut oil (evidently for the high smoke point) and some popcorn. I heated 3 tbsp of coconut oil in a 3 quart pot, heated the oil on med-high with a couple kernels in it until they popped. Then poured the rest of the 1/3 c. of kernels in and took it off the heat for 30 sec. I then put it back on the burner and waited for the fun to begin. It was quick! Took it off the heat, dumped it into the bowls. Literally I had 5 kernels left unpopped. Then added garlic salt to one bowl and Aromat to the other (msg anyone?). Really tasty. Still high in saturated fats. But fear not, its not all bad there are benefits.