Pop

Popcorn Steps

I wonder what it feels like to pop like a kernel of corn? No matter how many times I pour a bit of olive oil into the popper, turn on the heat, drop in a third cup of kernels stirring about three minutes until the sound dies, dump the now fluffy kernels into a bowl and bless them with sea salt–no matter how many times I run this experiment, no matter how accurately I measure, I have no clue what those kernels felt. Some don’t mind leaving mysteries veiled. Some impatiently assert those mysteries don’t exist, but even they can’t escape the mystery of eat, eat, eat and then pop some more.

MOMENTS POP AWAY
WARMER DAYS MARK WINTER DONE
TIME FOR ONE MORE WALK


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Björn Rudberg with the prompt “consider cooking in your haibun and give us a recipe in your prose”.  I have included my secret recipe for making popcorn.
Photo: “Popcorn Steps” by the author. Collage created using Google Photos.

Author: Frank Hubeny

I enjoy walking, poetry and short prose as well as taking pictures with my phone.

69 thoughts on “Pop”

    1. The bacon and popcorn sounds tasty. When I was a grad student we used to put brewer’s yeast over the popped corn. I haven’t done that in a long time, but it’s another variation.

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    1. I’ve wondered about that kernel for many years, but I suspect the corn plant is happy we are eating it because we keep propagating it better than it could have done in the wild without us. Thanks, Linda!

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      1. If you plant your own you might be able to use heirloom corn seeds. That would go for any vegetable. I still belong to the Seed Savers Exchange, but I no longer have a garden where we live now. In Indiana and Illinois a lot of corn is planted also.

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      1. It does and requires no effort except for tuning the heat to get it just right. I use just a regular pot to make mine in because I bought a fancy, vintage-style popcorn maker in Seattle which I brought back with me to Northampton and it refused to work! Sigh.

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  1. On winter Sunday nights, if my mother wanted to take a break from cooking, instead she popped a huge pan of popcorn, and brought sweet, juicy apples up from the storm cellar. I don’t remember wondering how the popcorn felt … bursting with pride, I guess!

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  2. That looks like fun, Frank! I was never a popcorn fan but I took my husband for a meal for his birthday and part of the ‘amuse bouche’ was a little pot of truffle popcorn, which was delicious. I don’t have a clue about what it feels like to pop like a kernel of corn but now I’ve read your haibun, I might give it a try with some unusual flavours!

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    1. If you have a wok with a cover you could use that to pop the corn. I haven’t tried any flavorings except brewer’s yeast and butter. But my imagination of what’s possible is limited. Thanks, Kim!

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  3. Have not eaten pop corn in a long time ~ I have not thought about the corn kernel’s perspective Frank ~ But I like mixing my food with sea salt for flavour ~ Enjoyed the read and delicious smell of that pop corn ~ And yes, thanks for reminding me to take my walk tonight ~ Lovely warm days and nights ahead ~

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    1. I heard about a haibun here for the first time last Fall from Toni Spencer who normally hosts these at dVerse Poets Pub. I think of the prose part as a prose poem or flash fiction, but it is supposed to be in the present tense. If what I have to say gets too long, I put a word count constraint on it to force me to think of a shorter solution. As far as the haiku goes, I stick with the 5-7-5 syllable format. There’s supposed to be a seasonal word in the middle somewhere. I used “winter” in this one. However, I have heard people tell me differently at local poetry meetings, but I don’t know that it matters much as long as you enjoy the end result.

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      1. It looks good to me, Diana. We’ll see what Bjorn has to say. It seemed like an odd form to me as well when I first tried it, but there is a kind of writing called “prosimetrum” that combines prose and poetry. I see the haibun as something like that.

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  4. I just love this section, Frank:

    “stirring about three minutes until the sound dies, dump the now fluffy kernels into a bowl and bless them with sea salt”

    And that you wonder about their feelings makes me very happy. 🙂

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    1. I haven’t tried ghee, but I have used butter in the past. Someone told me olive oil was healthier, but I don’t know how true that is. I do have coconut oil that I could try. I use coconut oil as a spread on toast. That pink salt is some kind of Himalayan salt that my wife thinks is healthier and may well be for all I know. The pot was a gift from my wife, but previously I used a wok with a cover. I am glad you liked it!

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  5. I can smell it from here. Nicely written, Frank. Unfortunately I must limit the intake of popcorn due to diverticulitis episodes; occasionally I cheat, but I pay for it later.
    I don’t think a kernal would fell pain…just pleasure 😉

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    1. I really don’t know which oil is best, but I have used canola as well and may try coconut oil in the future since we have some. There is a way to air pop corn in a wire basket. I used to use that over a wood stove long ago. Thanks, Sascha!

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  6. I haven’t had popcorn in a long time, but this makes me want some now. It also reminded me of when my dad would make Jiffy Pop on the stovetop. He seemed to take great pleasure in the little foil top expanding and then digging in to eat the popcorn once it was done. Fun poem, Frank, and you took me to a fun memory.

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    1. Thanks, Lynn! I used to cook popcorn on a wood stove in a wire mesh popper with a long handle. It worked pretty well without oil. I think my parents used Jiffy Pop, too. I do remember the brand name.

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  7. “Some don’t mind leaving mysteries veiled. Some impatiently assert those mysteries don’t exist, but even they can’t escape the mystery of eat, eat, eat and then pop some more.”

    Frank, are those “Some” the various types of corn that have popped? Or are you again dichotomizing the world into those like you who understand mystery and those poor fools who don’t? Another lecture?
    At first, I thought you were going to tell us something funny about the popped kernels all having different personalities.

    I too wonder about everything otherwise dismissed as “well, that is just the way it is.”

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      1. Indeed, High Praise. And she too felt the disappointment with the lecturing ending, given all the wonder before it. But I am sure most readers disagree and love the distain of supposed non-mystery lovers.

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    1. It’s a lecture of sorts, but not a very deep one. There are three people. (1) The narrator wonders what the kernel feels. (2) Some think it is best not to know. (3) And some don’t think there is anything to know, but even for them there is the mystery of being and popping that corn. I don’t claim to understand the mystery and so I would be like you, wanting to know.

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      1. Sorry, buddy, grammar things there stopped me from getting your last point. But the lecture against your supposed (and probably imaginary) enemies of Mystery still comes across a bit sanctimonious and self-congratulatory to this reader. Not sure you intended it that way. Just offering feedback. I, like you, often wonder about such things deeply and often, but think no less of those who don’t — instead, I wonder if we aren’t a bit broken. 😉

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  8. Fun! I love popcorn, but like Kathy said above, I can’t anymore. I sure miss it. Once I planted some popcorn out in our garden. It turned out pretty good. 🙂 Here’s how to make microwave popcorn…put a little oil in a small paper bag, add kernels, seal, and use microwave to pop them. Works good, too! 🙂

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