new old school popcorn secrets revealed!

Taste test approved by Ms. Maddie

I hate the smell of microwave popcorn. It reeks and it has the stench of a toxic dump when it’s burnt. That fake fat that swims in the bag makes me gag! Have I made it clear yet, how much I hate the stuff? …however, Ms. Madds loves popcorn. She’s a salty savoury kind of gal and so I tried out a new trick. Some of you may already know this but I am putting it out there now that I have tried it myself.

You can make popcorn in a BROWN PAPER LUNCH BAG – no fat, no salt, no additives, NO KIDDING….and best of all CHEAP! 

Here is a short modern history of popcorn as I see it:

In the old days (I have skipped over the jiffy-pop era of my childhood) we used oil in a saucepan, but after burning several good pots many of us moved on to AIR POPPERS.  When this bulky one purpose appliance started to spit out un-popped hot kernels that would crack your back teeth out of your skull, people  moved on to the microwave crap. I am not sure how many gazillions of dollars$$$ are spent on this junk but I would suggest we could clothe and feed the world’s poor on the excessive costs associated with the stuff, not to mention the costly strain it puts on our health care system.

Now that I am through with my badly researched and unsubstantiated history lesson let’s move on.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Assemble your ingredients:

2 brown paper lunch bags, packing tape, popcorn kernels

  • Place 2 Tablespoons of the kernels in the bag.

I decided to try 2 bags inside each other and taped down the folded edge with the best tape on earth–CLEAR PACKING TAPE. Do not staple ( I am afraid of microwave lightning) but — skinny tape may work in a pinch.

TIP: When I folded the bottom of the bag over… it actually helped with the popping process. Take a page out of Orville Redenbacher method. (Curious as to whether Mr. R was still alive… I google him and found out he died in his jacuzzi. Sounds like not a bad way to go if you are 88.)

  • Set microwave to the POPCORN SENSOR or listen to for the popping to stop – 2 to 5 sec apart . Ere on the side of undercooked–as you do not want the burned stench to take over the house.

TIP: I culled out the old maids( un-popped kernels for a couple of bags) and placed them back in the bag once everything had cooled down somewhat and set the sensor one more time.

EAT PLAIN or melt a little REAL BUTTER or go crazy and make REAL CARAMEL POPCORN. You will never ever crave the commercial kind again. I promise.


  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 c dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c corn syrup  or honey or maple syrup ( to be really decadent)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 c of popped popcorn in a roomy bowl. Make sure old maids ( un-popped kernels ) have been sifted out.
  • extra MIX-INS if you like–chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, gummy bears—the sky’s the limit)
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar,  syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring approx. 4 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Mixture will foam up–I LOVE THIS!
  3. Pour over popcorn and mix gently to cover all the kernels.
  4. Add any mix ins or enjoy as is.

SPECIAL NOTE: DO NOT ADD ROSE WATER to the caramel syrup. For some reason, I did this once about 20 years ago. My kids have never forgiven me and it is one of those memories that will not die. I have no excuse for this grave error, except that I am extremely experimental. I think outside the box. Sometimes people get hurt in the process.


Published by Terri James Harker

Terri James Harker lives in her hometown of Vancouver, Canada. Back to first person : I'm a Mom of 3 girls. Grandma of 2 girls and 4 boys. My background is in Sales& Marketing Account Management with 2 multinational publishers for 20 years. While other kids were learning to dance, swim, ski and play the violin, I was baking and sewing. For years I thought that I was TALENTLESS-- but I eventually realized I was one of the few people who actually used my skills ( dare I say talents?) Feeding the people I love and care about is a big part of what makes me happy. Creating beautiful ( unique?) things, even if held together by duct tape and safety pins makes me happy.

4 thoughts on “new old school popcorn secrets revealed!

  1. Yet another mouth-watering blog from Terri Lou. Now I’m craving popcorn — something I rarely eat. But I’m thinking garlic, chilli, lime, with a hint of maple syrup popcorn.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: