I Finally Tried the Pop Corn of My Youth, Jiffy Pop: Was It Good?
Growing up as a kid in the 1970s Jiffy Pop was a thing.
Yet it was a thing that my parents, nor my wife's parents ever bought for our families. So the last time we made a store trip Kathy decided she wanted to try it. Here's how we thought it tasted, and how the cooking process turned out.
Jiffy Pop, according to Wikipedia, was invented by Frederick Mennen of LaPorte, Indiana in 1958, and he started selling Jiffy Pop in 1959. The product was sold to American Home Products that same year and Pharmacologist Alvin Golub perfected the product for the company.
In the 1970s, I remember my parents made popcorn the old-fashioned way. They'd take some corn oil and put it in a pot, line the bottom of the pot with popcorn kernels, put it on the heat, put a lid on it, and let it pop. When it was done they'd salt it and call it delicious.
In the 1980s my father had some heart problems and became rather militant about what he chose to eat. So popcorn made with oil wasn't really all that appealing to him. He embraced those popcorn air poppers. Of course, he also gave up putting salt on his popcorn, and butter was never something we put on popcorn at home. It was pretty tasteless, to be honest.
Of course, as microwaves became a thing, how most of us made popcorn at home changed. It also made the snack more of a staple at the college dorm or the office. I mean who hasn't experienced walking into the office after someone nuked their popcorn a little too long? Even Jiffy Pop tried to take advantage of this.
Anyway, let's get down to business. Was it as much fun to cook up a batch of Jiffy Pop, and more importantly how did it taste?
Making Jiffy Pop isn't that hard. Pull off the cardboard top and expose the foil "lid," preheat one of the electric stove top burners to medium-high, put the pan on the burner, and wait for it to sizzle, then start shaking the pan as it starts to pop, watch the "lid" puff up like a chef's hat and when he popping dies down pull it off the heat.
It took a while for me to hear the sizzling sound and I worried about scorching the popcorn by not moving the pan in a circular or back-and-forth motion quick enough. I might have actually started moving the pan around too quickly.
When it stopped popping I took it off the heat and got out a fork to vent the popcorn, which vented less than I thought. I tore the foil lid off in a way that made it easy to pour the popcorn in a couple of bowls to eat.
To me, it tasted very similar to the popcorn my parents used to make in the pan which makes sense to me. It's sort of the same idea, without having a mess to clean up. The oil gives it a slightly greasy feel and I enjoyed eating it. It doesn't have that popped-in-the-microwave taste, that a lot of microwave popcorn has, which sort of turns me off a little to microwave popcorn. (I notice that less with kettle corn-flavored microwave popcorn.)
Kathy remarked she thought it tasted more like movie theater popcorn, although I'd stop short of making that comparison. Yet, we both really enjoyed eating it. I went back for seconds, and the one thing I noticed was that there seemed to be a layer of popcorn stuck to the bottom of the disposable pan. That was disappointing, and I wondered if I didn't shake the pan enough, or shook it too soon. Yet that was a minor issue when it comes down to it.
I'd get it again. Yes, it's mildly harder to make it on the stovetop than putting a bag of microwave popcorn in the nuker. Yet it's not that much harder. There didn't seem to be a lot of unpopped kernels, plus I think it tastes better than microwave popcorn. There's also no clean-up involved either since once the popcorn is eaten you can just toss the pan.