15 July 2014

The day I made popcorn and lost my fingerprint.

If you know me, you know how much I love popcorn.  This post is a little bit about popcorn.  But it's also a little bit about things that burn.  Like popcorn, fingers, and fireworks.  So if you like any of these things, read on!  If you need a good laugh, read on.  If you have better things to do but you're trying to procrastinate, read on! 
Back to the popcorn.
And not just ANY popcorn.
Fresh made, organic, home-popped popcorn.

[my awesome Mother-in-law hooks me up with organic popcorn from the Farmer's market. I had no idea there was white popcorn and yellow popcorn. I thought yellow popcorn was just white popcorn with butter all over.]

[my co-workers hooked me up with popcorn before I left my old job!]
Have had a zillion popcorn poppers in my life.  Oil popped.  Air popped.  Stove-top.  Self-turning, manual-turning.  Its crazy.
I would like to note though, I don't buy these things for myself, they are all gifted to me by people who know me very well and love me.
Popcorn has been my go-to salty snack since I was in college.  You can't make anything else that's this fresh so cheaply.  And, depending on how its popped, it can be low calorie.
Although, lets be honest.  I like the kind that's popped in oil and covered in real butter.
I've almost mastered the art of popcorn making.  My favorite popcorn maker, the Cuisinart pictured below, has seen its fair share of popcorn.  I've used it at least twice a month for the past two years, so I've made at least 50 or so 4 quart bowls of popcorn.  That's a lot.  And trust me, I eat it all.

[this popcorn was before I learned about organic popcorn]
Typically, I mix butter and vegetable oil in the bottom of the popcorn maker (although I've used coconut oil for a healthier, different tasting, dairy free alternative!) And when the butter melts I add just over 1/2 cut of popcorn kernels.  Really though, I've stopped measuring and now I just dump it in until the bottom is mostly covered.
I let the plate get hot and when it starts to sizzle, I add salt.
Then it pops with the salt and when the popping slows down, I pull the handles to lift it off the base and I flip it over.
Boom.  Warm, fresh popcorn.
The machine is a little hard to wash, and while I love it, It has broken on me a few times.  I've broken both handles off the top piece and I broke the popcorn bucket (It fell off the counter onto the floor and cracked.)  My sweet mother-in-law, who bought me the this popcorn maker, has one just like me but the bottom piece of hers broke.  The company offered to fix it for a fee, but she decided to just buy a new one.   She gave me her old bottom piece and popcorn bucket, which works but it's a bunch of different colors.
But lets be real, it doesn't matter what it looks like as long as it works!
She also got me a new brand, called the Kettle Krazy, last Christmas.  I decided to use the old one until it completely died before trying the new one, but my husband gave me an ultimatum : Only 2 popcorn poppers can move with us.  (we currently have 3)  I decided to try the new one and see which one I liked better.
And that's how I lost my fingerprint.
I read the instruction manual before starting, because I'm that kind of a person.  The way you add butter is fascinating.  You put it on top and let it melt in, which I never tried before.  My old popcorn maker had holes in the top, and I wonder if I was supposed to do the same thing, only I never read the directions right.  All I remember my old one saying was to melt the butter and pour it on top after popping, but that never works right, so I just add it into the bottom when popping.  This new machine warned me NOT to put butter in the bottom (because of the low smoke point).  It also told me I HAD to use vegetable oil because of the high smoke point, but I figure I can still use coconut oil if I want to because it has a high smoke point too.
Anyway, after putting in the oil, I added the popcorn.  It specified that I had to add the popcorn cold.  I don't know what kind of a difference that makes, but the manufacturer made it a point to put that in the instructions.  I keep my popcorn in the fridge anyway, so that made it easy.
The instructions also say not to use the machine in your freezer.
Just in case you had an extra outlet in there and that's the only place you could find to pop the popcorn, it won't work.
And its a safety hazard.  Bummer.
So I added my vegetable oil to the bottom, then the cold popcorn, then added butter to the top.  I normally only add 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter, but the recipe told me to add 3.  So I added 2.5 because I couldn't bring myself to use 3 full ones. 
And I let it pop.

The puppies LOVE popcorn.

The sound of corn popping calls them from the farthest corners of the house promising the reward of crunchy yumminess!
They know if they sit and stay and then lay down when I ask, they get a piece of warm, unsalted popcorn. 

[they know to sit]

[look at those faces! Who could say no!!]

I turn off the machine when the popping slows to every 3 seconds and then I unplug it, as the instructions indicate.
I grab the handles to flip the entire machine over (away from my face like the directions tell me) and I immediately jump back, almost spilling the entire contents of the hot oil and popcorn bucket onto me, because my finger touched a screw in the handle and it burned!
It hurt so bad!
I re-read the flipping instructions wondering if I did something wrong.  I didn't.  They say NOTHING about a hot screw!  (they do say not to over-tighten the screw, but it comes pre-assembled, so why is that pertinent??)
I then grabbed the handles again, careful to avoid the screws, hoping that my popcorn hadn't burnt in the mean time because burnt popcorn is one of the worst smells ever.
It didn't burn (thankfully).  But my finger did.
I put it under cold (not freezing) water because that is proper protocol for burns. Ice will just make the burn blister more and could cause worse pain.
My finger hurt all the rest of the evening.
And it hurt even worse in my shower.
I was seriously concerned.  I put some coconut oil on it (I couldn't find ointment, and it seamed like the next best thing)  then I put coconut oil on a cotton pad, covered the pad in tape, and stuck the oiled pad to my finger.  I slept like that.
It felt better the next morning, but it still (1 full week later) is burned.  The lines of my fingerprint are gone!

[the night I burned my finger]

[one WHOLE week later!]

Look!  It even looks like the top of a plus-sign screw. 
Stupid instructions.  Stupid machine.  Stupid company.
Yummy popcorn.
I still have to try using the machine again before I can fully judge. 
Just know, if I ever go missing and they find a girl with normal fingerprints and then a 4-petal flower design burned in her middle finger on her right hand in the shape of a plus-sign screw, that's me.  Unfortunately.
You know other stuff that pops and burns?! (but is way less painful!)
FIREWORKS!!  I have some photos/videos from Independence day! 
Just don't watch the videos if you get dizzy easily because my video skills haven't fully developed yet.  Also, I was balancing on a rooftop trying to film two fireworks shows so there's a lot of wobble and panning back and forth. 
4 July 2014:

[at our friend's house]

[neighbor friends on the roof-deck!]

Oh! And mega Pinterest fail: I tried to make these for the 4th of July. I made one. 

Trust me, alcohol doesn't freeze well and I ended up licking all the liquidy flavor off the bottom so it wouldn't drip.  Then the top got all icy. It was a brilliant idea. But not so great in non-Martha-Stuart-reality.  Which is where I live!

In the end, life is good. Popcorn is good. And my God, who by grace allows me to live freely and find enjoyment in the small things, is great!


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