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Our local metro grocery store doesn’t have everything. Baking soda, for instance. They carry marzipan for your baking pleasure, but decided this fall that bicarbonate of soda (unlike pre-made marzipan) wasn’t a necessity for the urban baker.

More predictably, they also don’t carry plain popcorn kernels. So last week I was delighted when it finally occurred to me that the health food store, which stocks every other raw grain you could desire, might carry them… and it did.

(This was the same trip in which I, having proved my devotion to a new, seed-filled bread recipe, spent 63 pounds stocking my pantry with bulk bags of hemp seed and sunflower kernels.)

So this afternoon, despite the single hour remaining before supper, I suddenly became aware that it was necessary to make popcorn. Now. This minute. Recalling what I knew about popcorn making from kernels, I fashioned a bag out of brown paper (the health food store not running to brown paper bags), blithely added a teaspoon of sugar, a pinch of salt and two tablespoons of kernels, sealed it and popped it in the microwave.

Did you know that the burn temperature of sugar is relatively low?

I did not set the microwave on fire. I didn’t even set the paper bag on fire. The kitchen, however, smelled rather scorched. I opened a window and started again.

Not wanting to waste paper bags if I could help it, I turned to the internet. A microwavable bowl, covered in cheesecloth to stop the popcorn escaping. Not being in the habit of cheese-making, I hadn’t any cheesecloth to hand, but I resolved to make the trial anyway.

Did you know t-shirts also scorch when microwaved?

That one came as a bit of a shock, and I don’t think my tea towel will ever be the same, though the popcorn came out fine. Katie suggests a glass bowl with a lid or dinner plate, which, if nothing else, has the advantage of putting very little flammable in the microwave.

I shall triumph in the end, and the sound of popping kernels shall once more be heard throughout the Far Outer Hebrides!

Path on Calton Hill

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