When was the last time you felt like a wizard? Never? Wrong. It’s the last time you made microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn is real-life magic. You put a flat packet of seeds and goop into a box, you wait a couple of minutes, and then suddenly you have a giant, puffy, piping hot bag of some of the best-tasting stuff on this planet: buttery, salty popcorn. And I know what some of you are thinking. “But Jessica, it’s so fake and there’s yellow dye and the butter is fake and it’s so salty and it’s fake!”
Exactly. It’s all the more magical—all the more scientifically wondrous.
Yes, movie theater popcorn will always be somewhat unmatched because it’s a whole cinematic experience. But have you ever watched a bag of popcorn pop? It’s arguably just as cinematic: 30 seconds of silence, single pop, a long pause. A second pop. A shorter pause. A cluster of pops. Then oh my goodness the darned thing is changing shape right before your very eyeballs! It’s the same plot structure as any alien movie if you think about it—except once the popcorn alien is all grown and the popping dies down you have a bag of buttery popcorn to eat and not a ravaged earth to clean up.
In my sixth grade class, the weekly prize for best-behaved table group was not pizza, not candy, but a single bag of buttered popcorn to share. Now, some people may (wrongfully) think that’s lame, but most people would agree that my sixth-grade teacher knew what’s up. We could get pizza at home, we could get candy at Halloween, but microwave popcorn? That’s an occasion in and of itself, and she knew it. That was the single best-behaved class I had in elementary school, all thanks to the promise of a salty, buttery treat. Also, she was a great teacher, but like, I’m trying to make a point.
In college, microwave popcorn was my go-to study snack. My friends and I would find the nearest microwave, make the popcorn without setting off the building smoke alarms (we weren’t amateurs), and then have a warm, comforting, shareable, utensil-free snack at two a.m. And, as an added bonus, the oily butteriness forced us to stop studying for a bit because you can’t touch anything else while eating it—a conveniently built-in study break. Then we proceeded to lick the radioactive butter paste off the inside of the package like animals. Ah, college.
In summation, microwave popcorn always has been and forever will be one of the greatest snacks/inventions of all time. It’s warm, salty, and violently yellow at times; it’s both shareable and eat-by-yourselfable; it makes you feel like a literal mage; and it’s a beautiful source of hot, buttery happiness in a bag. What’s not to love?