popcorn or death? i’ll have popcorn, please!

popcorn.jpgThanks to my roommate Sabrina for alerting me to this article on a great site called Angry Toxicologist. The article is about a possible ban on Diacetyl in California:

“The chemical is an artificial butter flavoring most commonly used in microwave popcorn. Numerous studies have found links between the chemical used by flavor workers and a rare disease called bronchiolitis obliterans. For those of you who aren’t 2000 yr old Romans, that means that the bronchioles and some of the smaller bronchi are obliterated by masses made up of fiberous tissue. It’s like sticking marbles into the networks of tubes in your lung that connect fresh air to the alveoli, the little sacs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged with the blood.”

Oh. But I love popcorn…

And that’s okay, because I don’t eat microwave popcorn. The very same Sabrina pops it for us on the stove and it’s DELICIOUS. (I admit that I never knew how to do this because we had one of those plug-in poppers).  We have found a surprising large gap between regular and organic (organic being way more fresh and flavorful and it’s cheap in bulk).

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a pot with a cover. Throw in one kernal. When it starts to bubble (Greg taught me this), add in the rest (one or two small handfulls) and cover. It will start popping rapidly and when it slows down, turn off the heat. Once it stops popping, you’re in business. We like it with a little Earth Balance and some salt and pepper.

You’ll forget you even have a microwave.


4 responses to “popcorn or death? i’ll have popcorn, please!

  1. the nyt also ran an article on diecetyl popcorn on sunday. as always, it’s more of a threat to the workers than to people consuming it…

    reminds me of coal workers who were getting black lungs in the 1800s and their companies saying there was no “conclusive” evidence, as the popcorn companies are now.


  2. Guerrilla Health

    Rona, that’s so true. So many of the chemicals and preservatives we consume in small amounts have devastating effects on workers, and also on the communities where they are processed.

    One thing I’ve been trying to do is imagine jobs for people that support natural product production, for the sake of their health and our own. One strategic question is whether it’s better to try to get existing companies to change, or to try to create new economies, hopefully more local and more sustainable ones.

  3. oh god, please tell me it’s not in pop secret home style! my life would end.

  4. Thanks for the heads-up! One thing that caught my attention about your popcorn-making technique: olive oil may be carcinogenic when used for cooking. I don’t know how credible this claim is – my original source for this information is Rue McClanahan (the one who played Blanche in “Golden Girls,” the best show ever) when she was giving a talk I attended at the opening of a nursing home. Since then, I haven’t cooked with olive oil, but now as I look at some stuff online, it’s saying that the cancer scare is overblown. Was Rue wrong?

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