I was thinking about popcorn yesterday. Actually, popcorn and age.
When I was a kid we'd get out an old dutch oven and pour some oil into the bottom, heat it up, then pour a scoop of popcorn into it. One of us would have to shake the pot regularly to keep the kernels from burning on the bottom, and another had to melt some butter in a pan on the stove top. We made huge bowls of popcorn, because everyone in the family would have a generous helping. You could buy corn right from the farms where it was grown, grow your own, or just buy it at the grocery store.
When I was newly out of college and knew everything, we purchased a hot air popper. It was healthier for us to prepare our popcorn that way, but I noticed that the maker of the device included a little cup where you could melt butter as you popped the corn! I don't think the issue of noise pollution was ever discussed as we made popcorn, because you wouldn't have been able to hear the conversation.
And now, we microwave popcorn. I can't believe the endless variety available to us. Buttered, Lite butter, No butter, Cheese flavored, Kettle corn, JUMBO kernels, the choices just go on and on. You can get generic popcorn or name brand popcorn. You can buy it in packages of three or twenty four. Is it an improvement? Maybe. Especially if you pick a version that is plain. Less oil in our diet has to be a good thing. I actually prefer the taste of microwaved popcorn because it's less greasy.
I worry about kids not knowing that they don't need a microwave to have popcorn. I remember my father saying that he wanted to try to find an antique corn popper, the kind you used over a fire. I wonder if we need to institute a semester of history on how to live without creature comforts? There are several fascinating programs on TV about modern people who try to recreate life during certain periods of history. I don't think we need to go quite that far in our education of kids, but it would be nice for our children to know that there are solutions to a number of things that would make them self-sufficient. But, how do you decide what to include in the course? Having to use an outhouse, cutting firewood, milking a cow, cooking over a fire...is that what camping or scouting or reenactments are for? Should we focus on the broader issues or stick to simple things like popcorn, and making a cake from scratch?
My mind wanders on a quiet Saturday morning. Stream of thought leads me here and there, the way a real stream chooses to meander and respond to the land which it travels through. I can hear the history teachers groaning....saying "I don't have enough time to teach the curriculum now! Don't add anything more....especially something I'm not equipped to teach!" Perhaps the idea is not a bad one, but maybe it would be better taught if each faculty member contributed several lessons. We could even encourage community members to participate. I wonder if this is how Thoreau got started on Walden?