When I first glanced at Rosecrans Baldwin's humorous tirade against popcorn in his Slate piece, Popcorn: Cinema's Worst Enemy, my first impression was "Damn, that's harsh." But after reading the whole thing, I could relate. (Okay, not on everything. On aesthetics, he says, "Popcorn looks like sheep shit"—using one of my favorite dishes as an example, I know very well that Japanese curry resembles diarrhea, but that would never stop me from loving it.)
It's the smell. Baldwin recounts one of his first popcorn-eating memories: "it's the stench that really lingers in memory--how the separate aromas oxidized and burned my sinuses." He goes on to say that the smell of buttered popcorn in a movie theater once made him vomit. I have yet to vomit at the hands of popcorn, but I do feel a bit nauseous whenever I go into a movie theater due to the thick, suffocating, stale scent of buttered popcorn. Does this happen to anyone else?
Although I don't eat popcorn in movie theaters (if I did, maybe I would throw up), I don't mind eating it in other situations where I'm not suspended in a cloud of popcorn stench. Baldwin taste tested a few microwavable popcorn brands at home in an attempt to see if he could outgrow childhood dislike for popcorn. In conclusion: Nope. Still hates everything about it. I'd suggest he try cooking it on a stove instead of using the microwave versions, but that may not make much of a difference. I use the stovetop method because 1) it's cheaper, 2) I can season it however I want, and 3) I don't have a microwave.
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