Monday, April 16, 2012

Microwave Popcorn

Slightly over-cooked microwave popcorn made at my house.
Okay, today is the day my sass comes out as I write a post about how to pop microwave popcorn.  "Why would anyone need to read a blog post about how to pop microwave popcorn?  Aren't the instructions right on the BAG?" you ask?  Why yes.  Yes, they are.  The instructions are on the box AND on each individual bag.
"What happens when you don't follow the instructions on the box/bag?" you ask?  This is what happens:

Gross right?  This is not the first time a microwave oven at my place of employment has looked like this.  This would be the second.  The first time was actually sometime in winter.  I remember it was winter because when I went home that evening, my coat smelled like greasy burnt popcorn.  So did my hair.  Believe it or not, it was the same teacher who did this to the microwave today that did it back a couple of months ago.  Come to think of it, this is the microwave she brought in, bless her heart, to replace the other microwave that fell victim to her negligent popcorn popping...bless her heart.
So, when I found out that the burning popcorn stench in the building today was also Miss B's doing, I decided it was time to spell out Microwave Popcorn 101.  There might be others out there who need to hear this, so I'm posting it here.  Share away, friends.  Share away.

First, you'll notice on the box of microwave popcorn, the instructions are written there for you:
See the part in bold all caps that reads, "STAY NEARBY & STOP MICROWAVE WHEN POPPING SLOWS TO 1 TO 2 SECONDS BETWEEN POPS"?  There's the first indicator that you need to stay NEAR the microwave, not in the classroom across the hallway.

Next, when you open the box and unwrap the popcorn pouch, you'll see more words on the outside:

Now, this one doesn't say you need to stay nearby, but it does tell you that cook times may need to be adjusted.  I can use my skills of inference to understand that different brands of popcorn will pop differently in different microwave ovens.  "You can't be sure about the cook time" is the bottom line for me on this panel.

Again, the photo above shows that step four of microwave popcorn popping reads, again, bolded in all caps, "STAY NEARBY & STOP MICROWAVE WHEN POPPING SLOWS TO 1 TO 2 SECONDS BETWEEN POPS."  Now, most people think the most important instruction on this panel is the part reading, "BAGS WILL BE HOT!"  Sorry, Miss B.  At this point I'm not so concerned about the safety of your fingers and face.  I'm concerned that every adult in the building is wondering if the fire alarm system has failed and whether or not we need to evacuate all of the children.
So, if you haven't figured out by now that staying close to the microwave while popping popcorn in it is imperative, they tell you one last time on the right side panel with additional tips: "Do not leave oven unattended when preparing this product" and "Popping times are affected by the model, age and power of your microwave."

Okay, so you've read the important instructions.  Here are my own personal instructions for popping microwave popcorn.

1.  If you think you might have to leave the room that contains the microwave in which you are popping the popcorn, don't pop the popcorn.  Wait until you have five minutes to do the job and to stand there in the room with the microwave.
2.  Once your time allowance has been established, take the plastic wrap off the popcorn pouch and read ALL of the instructions on the bag of microwave popcorn and resolve to follow them to the letter.
3.  Lay the popcorn pouch on the bottom of the microwave oven.
4. Close the door of the microwave.
5.  Cook popcorn on high for the time indicated on the package.  If it states, "1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes," set the microwave for 2 1/2 minutes, start cooking and STAND THERE until the popping slows to 1 to 2 second between pops.
6.  Open the microwave oven door and carefully remove the bag at one of the corners.
7.  Gently shake the bag to distribute any remaining grease, being careful not to let any of said grease get on you or your coworkers.
8.  Holding the top of the bag at opposing corners, gently pull the bag open.  Allow steam to escape before digging in.
9.  Close the door of the microwave that has been saved by following the above instructions.
10.  Enjoy some popcorn.


  1. Hahaha, this is awesome. I think you need to print out those 10 steps and tape them on the wall next to the microwave. :)

  2. Miss B. sounds as though she needs assistance when she pops popcorn. I'm sure she has other qualities that are good. Maybe she needs to take popcorn 101. : )


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