The 91 yearold nutritionist had warned me against theatre popcorn – “they’re little fat balls,” she scolded, “if you eat them you’ll wear them.” I go to movies as much for the popcorn as I do for the movie, in fact, the popcorn gave the best performance in Sex and City 2.
I knew that popcorn, although a good source of fiber, was a disaster of Titanic proportions at the theatre, but I had no idea until I stumbled upon a report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest who conducted a study on theatre popcorn. According to the CSPI, a medium and large size of theatre popcorn can run as high as 1200 calories and three days worth of saturated fat. Note: the CSPI also found that in some theaters both the medium and large are roughly the same amount of popcorn, just in different shaped containers. Bastards!.
I was convinced. I brought in my own contraband of healthier popcorn, Orville Redenbacher’s 100-calorie bags. They became my go-to snack for the theatre and for late-nights at home.
Then, I readDanielle Omar’s blog (scroll to June 18) and learned something bad about my habit. Danielle is a Registered Dietician and writes about the chemical diacetyl used in artificial butter flavoring “Diacetylwas connected to a rarelung disease found in hundreds of popcorn factory workers (and recently in a fewlifelong microwave popcorn eaters – uh ohthat’s me). Further, she shares that the “chemicals used to line the bag, specifically a substance called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)…builds up in the body over time, and has beenlinked to infertility, birth defects, and increased liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer.Manufacturer’s have agreed to phase out the PFOA, but not until 2015.” Bastards!
Danielle also provided a how-to for making your own microwaved popcorn bag with some help fromKatie at Chaos in the Kitchen. I modified it slightly.
Healthy Popcorn Options (two methods):DYI Popcorn Bag:
Note: Katie doesn’t use any oil or seasoning, which is a much more admirable way to go.
I like the bag method, but felt in my cheap microwave, not enough kernels popped before they burned and so I went in search of a safe microwave popper.
Microwave Popcorn Vessel:
I found this nifty BPA-free (at least that’s what the sales clerk said) microwave popcorn popper that would pop without oil and even had a butter drip screen on top, so that if you want just a smidgen of flavor (one scant teaspoon of real butter), you have the option. I was so excited that there would be the happiest of ending to the saga. But wait….
Determined beyond the ridiculous, I removed the turntable from my microwave in order to fit in the popper. I told you, cheap microwave. But, the popcorn is delicious, no oil, almost every kernel pops and it has a hint of butter flavor without much compromise.