Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lunch Bag Popcorn

The problem of personal extravagance has been on my mind recently, and has triggered a serious effort at better stewardship. I've been attempting to be more frugal in every area, so, since popcorn was on my grocery list, I decided to start trimming my budget right there. I had seen something online about microwaving popcorn in a brown lunch  bag. It is supposed to be much cheaper and better in every way. I didn't believe the hype but decided to give it a try. 

Of course, I had to buy popcorn and opted for name brand at $4.98 for 45 oz.  According to the nutrition facts, that will make 32 servings, which ends up being 15 cents a serving! I thought I might have hit upon a great deal. I checked the price on the brand and flavor I prefer. $2.18 for four servings, or 54 cents per serving. That's a real savings! (If you eat a lot of popcorn.)

Since I couldn't find my brown lunch bags anywhere, I used a white one. It matches the popped kernels and I really like for things to match.

Unfortunately, the white bag is not as thick as the brown ones, and the popcorn blew out the end of the bag. It made a nice pop and was kind of exciting, so I counted it as a plus. Next time, though, I'm using a brown bag or two white ones. 

I used 1/4 cup of kernels, poured it in the bag, folded the top over twice, and put it in the microwave. The instructions said to set it for three minutes or until the popping slows. It took mine 2 minutes and 13 seconds. I burned a few kernels though, so set it for 2 minutes if you try this at home, and pay better attention than I did. 

I still remember popping corn in a pot on the stove, so that is my standard. Next to that, the usual microwave popcorn is pretty poor fare. This lunch bag popcorn is light and fluffy without any of the weird stuff the bags usually have. It was a little boring but Maggie and Mamie thought it was terrific. They didn't get much, though, because corn makes the Wonder Dogs itch. They can get by with just a bite, though. Wonder Dogs LOVE popcorn!!

Well, to tell the truth, it was a lot boring. I  added a little salt and, because I don't like boring, I added a little butter. Still HoHum. I added some Parmesan cheese and that helped. Finally, I added some chili powder and that added just the right zing. It turned out that the lack of zing was partially due to all the zingy stuff going straight to the bottom of the bowl. Without the oil in the commercial bags, there was nothing to which the zingies could cling. 

This was a lot like air-popped popcorn. I had an air popper once. I used it to roast green coffee beans. It works great for roasting coffee, but not so great for popcorn. 

The popcorn was okay. Not great, but okay. For 15 cents a serving, it was fabulous. Next time, I will try a brown bag and add a little oil to the bag, as well as a pinch of salt and whatever zingy hits my fancy. It has potential and, since the price is right, I'm willing to make an effort. I'll keep you posted. 

By the way, I'm not just being "cheap". As you will know if you saw the Flipping Food post, my goal is to make a habit of generosity and to splurge on giving. Being intentionally frugal is the best way I know to finance that kind of spending. I saved 39 cents for the giving splurge tonight. Give it a try! Just think what a difference we could make if we really make an effort!