Pop Quiz

This may be hard to believe, but before I moved into my quaint (that’s Craiglist speak for small) apartment for grad school, I had never owned a microwave before. My parents never felt the need to buy one since they could create tasty food without it. You want a baked sweet potato? Throw it in the oven for an hour. Want to melt chocolate? Use a double boiler. Want popcorn? Use the air popper.

That is the air popper that we’ve had since I was a kid. Actually, I think it’s older than I am. Thanks to this bad boy, I have a slight obsession with air popped popcorn. It is a blank slate for any flavor craving you may have. There is one downfall to being raised in a microwave-free home. Within the first week of having my own microwave, I set it on fire. Well, I didn’t set it on fire, it kind of set itself on fire. I had a craving for popcorn, and diligently followed the directions on the bag. After 2 minutes, I smelled burning. And then I walked over the microwave and saw fire. Luckily, I remained calm, cool, and collected. I turned off the microwave and proceeded to flail around the room hoping to disperse the smoke. I opened all the windows and put on the air conditioning. Eventually, the flames died out and I was a left with a charcoal-wave. I was able to finagle a new microwave, and you better believe I stand within view of that fickle appliance every time I pop some corn.

I will forever remain loyal to the air popper, yet I haven’t purchased my own yet. When I was visiting my parents, I had a craving for GORP. Who doesn’t love some Good Ol’ Raisins & Peanuts? I had an idea to switch out the peanuts for popcorn, and add some other typical trail mix ingredients.

I was in the mood for a salty-sweet combination, so I grabbed the sea salt, raisins, and some dried cranberries. I threw a small handful of each dried fruit on top. There was a bag of semisweet chocolate chips on the counter, and anyone who’s had trail mix knows that picking out the chocolate is one of the best parts. About half a handful will do. Into the warm popcorn they went!

Sprinkle some sea salt on top and you’re done! This really hit the spot, it was salty and sweet, and relatively healthy! The chocolate melted a little from the warmth of the popcorn, which made it even more delicious. I wonder how this would be with different dried fruit, or with melted chocolate drizzled on top?

What are some of your favorite snacks? Have you ever set a microwave on fire?

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–Ariel

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