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We all have our areas of expertise, and one of mine involves food.
I have talents related to eating it, cooking it, and talking about it. I was even once at a dinner with company executives, and the president turned to me and said “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen someone as talented with a knife and fork as you.”
I think that was a compliment.
But when it comes to the lowly popcorn kernel, I have to say I have not been a fan. Unless it’s drowning in butter or coated with some other flavor, the popcorn itself does little to nothing for me. It’s not as worthless as, say, a rice cake, but it’s in the same neighborhood.
My opinions are now changing thanks to Virginia Tech basketball coach Mike Young.
Young has made popcorn regal. Brain food. The poor man’s caviar of the New River Valley. The key ingredient that has allowed Young to be such a successful coach with the Hokies. Heck, as you can see from the picture above, he’s even got Doug Doughty eating it.
I’ve always been a peanut man, myself. Salted, in a shell, accompanied by a cold beverage and maybe a baseball game in front of me, on a warm night, and I’m good. Popcorn, I’ve always believed, breaks teeth. Peanuts build character.
But Young is causing me to change. I’ve written that I’d run through a brick wall for him because I’m so impressed with the job he’s done for the Hokies, so I guess I’m going to have to eat a bag of popcorn every time the team plays too.
At least there is variety I can consider. Plain old popcorn is the brussel sprouts of the snack world, and I don’t see that ever changing for me. But I did look up some other varieties, and some are appealing. Kettle Corn will do, with its sweet and salty flavor. Caramel Corn is another. There is a cheese popcorn, but I’m not sure about that. It looks like they took one of those dried packets of powder you see in the mac and cheese boxes at the grocery store they sell 3 for a dollar and just dusted it over regular popcorn.
Anything that sells 3 for a dollar in the grocery store can’t be but so good.
There are gourmet jelly beans that come in a buttered popcorn flavor, but I don’t think they would meet with the coach’s approval. I came across this story that listed the 21 flavors of popcorn you must try in 2021, and they include flavors like pizza, loaded baked potato, blueberry, red velvet….even a Cincinnati Style Chili flavor.
This reminds me of the Coke commercial where they’re saying all the different kinds of pizza go with the beverage and some old guy behind the counter at a New York pizza place says “C’mon. That’s not pizza.”
I can see Coach Young looking right into the camera and saying “C’mon, that’s not popcorn” as well. Then saying something about playing our game and getting back to basics.
I have had chocolate drizzled popcorn, and that will do. And I don’t know if they’ve changed the recipe and flavor for Cracker Jacks, but as a kid, that was a special treat despite the rather worthless prize they stuck in it.
I’m guessing even Young would like some variety, but is bound by whatever flavor they sell at Cassell or a visiting arena. Since he’s busy coaching a basketball team, I'm not going to waste his time and ask him. But I have inserted a poll in the story to see what you think he’d order if given the chance. Once we determine a winner, I’ll buy a batch of that flavor and send it to him as a gift from all us fans.
Heck, I may even order two batches and keep one for myself. If eating popcorn can cause so much benefit for Young and the Hokies, imagine how much good it could do for me.
Particularly if it tastes good 😊
Best storebought popcorn is Cretors Cheddar and Caramel Mix (we call it Chicago mix because that’s what it is ) can get a giant bag of it at Costco but I’ve seen it other places.
Our favorite popcorn though is a homemade Sriracha Popcorn. Bag of Popcorn kernels are cheap and you can pop them in your air fryer. While they’re popping mix a tablespoon of sriracha, a tablespoon of melted butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl, microwave the mix to heat it up and get it to mix together into a consistent topping. When the popcorn is done popping throw it in a large mixing bowl, drizzle the sauce over it, cover and shake well to coat everything. Quick and easy and dang tasty.
1. Costco has Chicago Mix? I'll be making a trip there Monday to find some of this.
2. I've had an air fryer for a year and found all sorts of uses for it, but never considered popping popcorn in it. Will have to give it a try