One of my daughter’s favorite books is Heather Forest’s retelling of Stone Soup. “Bring what you’ve got! Put it in the pot! We’re making stone soup!” And while the story is about sharing, that even a little contribution can go a long way, I find myself thinking that marriage is a lot like stone soup. Bring what you’ve got… It can be a perfect pairing, like chocolate and peanut butter or mac ‘n’ cheese, or it can be a recipe for disaster–you know, something akin to fruitcakes.
More often than not, you’ve found me bringing what I’ve got–remembering things from my past that have shaped my culinary expertise and palette. But my husband has also brought what he’s got to our pot. Some things are minor and easily fit into our food experiences. I won’t argue that frozen pizza and chips count as a well-rounded meal. Some other things haven’t quite made it, like creamed peas on toast (a memory that he’s happy to leave as memory and not reality). But one major contribution is this:
Meet the Presto Power Pop–endorsed by Orville Redenbacher and found with a price tag of under $20. (You can sometimes find it (and the power concentrators it needs) at Walmart. I know for sure you can get it at Meijer.)
Let me tell you a little of my history with popcorn. Mom liked popcorn; Dad didn’t. I think for a while we had a hot-air popper, but it only came out on very rare occasions, ultimately finding its fate on a rummage sale table, I believe. Most of the time my mom ate microwave popcorn. I’m not sure if it’s because she really loved it, because it’s convenient, or what. Personally, I suspect the real issue was her super sense of smell–she couldn’t tolerate the lingering smell of most foods cooked in hot fat, like pancakes. Or fried chicken. Or grilled cheese. Or bacon. But for whatever reason, we just didn’t have the “real” stuff often. Oh, I secretly longed for it, but given the option between microwave popcorn or no popcorn, I gladly chose the nuked stuff.
While microwave popcorn can be good, for me kernels coated in caution tape-yellow “butter” don’t hold a napkin to those that exploded in a light glaze of oil and salt. When I moved out on my own, I attempted the real stuff a couple of times with oil and a pan on the stove. There were a few good pieces. There were also a lot of blackened ones. (It was a good thing Mom wasn’t there to smell that!) So when I met this contraption early on in my relationship with my husband–a device found in his mom’s kitchen–I nearly popped like a kernel of corn with excitement. It makes fresh popcorn in the microwave! Bring what you’ve got… forget the pot… just 2-1/2 minutes to lightly-salted goodness. And you know what that means?
I’m 2-1/2 minutes away from making this:
It’s called Sweet Crunch Mix. I found the recipe on a box of cereal from Aldi a couple years ago. It’s a lot like kettle corn running off to Vegas with Chex mix. It’s that perfect marriage of salty and sweet, and a single batch can easily be made in the microwave in 15 minutes. It’s one of the easiest, most addictive foods around.
Yes, marriage isn’t easy. It takes trials, spills, time, and major work to develop into something incredible. But at the same time, it’s those little things along the way that make it so much better and worth it. I can’t imagine traveling on my way to heaven with anyone else. Especially when he’s willing to make me popcorn. 🙂
Bring what you’ve got… put it in the pot…
Sweet Crunch Mix
- 4 cups corn &/or rice square cereal
- 4 cups popped popcorn**
- ½ cup peanuts
- ½ cup pretzels
- ¼ cup margarine or butter
- 6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- In large microwave-safe bowl, combine cereals, popcorn, peanuts, and pretzels; set aside.
- In medium microwave-safe bowl, combine margarine, sugar, corn syrup, and flavor.
- Microwave on high 2 minutes or until mixture is boiling, stirring after 1 minute. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until all pieces are evenly coated.
- Microwave on high 5 to 6 minutes, stirring thoroughly with rubber spatula every minute and scraping sides and bottom of bowl.*
- Spread on waxed paper to cool; stir occasionally to break up. Store in airtight container.
*Mixture may be baked in conventional oven instead of microwave—bake for 45 minutes at 250o, stirring every 15 minutes. I recommend this if you’re going to double the recipe.
** I don’t always have all the ingredients on hand, so I often make it with only popcorn—doubling to 8 or so cups of popcorn seems to work well. I also like to make an extra batch of salted popcorn and mix it with the sweet stuff after it’s all cooled. Or I suppose you could simply sprinkle the mixture with salt right after it’s been “baked”, before you cool it.