Save money: pop your corn.

Popcorn was one of my favorite after school snacks as a kid. Growing up, there were many afternoons when I would come home and Mom would have popped a big bowl already. If she hadn’t, I pulled out the air-popper and popped it myself. Then we watched Oprah or Dr. Phil and relaxed. Now that I’m working, I still like a bowl of popcorn in the afternoons if I’m tired and a little hungry. Popcorn pairs nicely with reading and goes down well with beer.

It’s also cheap as all get out. I bought a bag of popcorn few weeks ago for $1.58. I pop it myself on the stove in my big, red Lodge pot, and as long as I’m paying pretty good attention it doesn’t burn. One fifty-eight buys a lot of popcorn, bowl after bowl, more salty, crunchy goodness. I love chips and salsa, and cheesy crackers as much as the next girl, but popcorn can stretch a dollar a lot farther than a bag of chips or a box of Cheez Its.

I popped some popcorn and took it to work a few weeks ago, when I was working a late event and needed to drive to another location on my dinner break. Popcorn is an easy, quick meal. It stayed fresh and was satisfying even eating it in the car.

I used to think that I needed an air-popper like the kind my mom has, the kind I grew up with. It’s less likely to burn, and it makes a lot of popcorn in a very short time. But it’s a single use item. My red Lodge pot on the other hand also brews beer and makes soup. It could even make spaghetti if I ever needed to feed an army. I used to think when I had more space, I’d get an air-popper, but I think I’ll pass now. The Lodge pot does the job just as well.

And microwave popcorn will never darken my door. It’s a weird flavor, weird texture, and most likely to burn. It’s hard to imagine how microwave popcorn became so popular when it isn’t any more convenient than stove top popcorn and is much lower quality.

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