Driving home in the rain today, I brightened considerably when I realized that it's January. January means one thing around this house: American Idol. And American Idol means popcorn.
It's been a popcorn kind of vacation. The kids and I have eaten a lot of it while Yancey's been at the fire station--for lunch, for dinner, for snack. I usually prefer the following: white kernels, popped in a little bit of vegetable oil in a heavy saucepan. Little bit of melted butter, lots of kosher salt. Sometimes with a beer if I'm being bad; seltzer water otherwise. Does it get any better than that?
As it happens, yes. It does get better than that. Fresh thyme, lemon zest, parmesan from a can, garlic powder, butter, and kosher salt. Wyatt went to bed the other night, then came back out into the kitchen while I was eating this. I heartlessly sent him back to bed. The next night, I let him stay up late with Yancey and I. He hung his little head over the bowl, complimenting me and my popcorn up and down, and alive to the pleasures of staying up with Mom and Dad. Reminds me of a Jane Kenyon poem I love. This poem is a little sad, and I know my kids have zillions more moments alone with me than Jane (or most people of her generation) ever did. Certainly I don't expect my children to appreciate these popcorn moments now--their job is just to eat. Someday, though, I wouldn't mind if Wyatt remembered this night fondly. I know I will.
Drawing from the Past
Only Mama and I were at home.
We ate tomato sandwiches
with sweeps of mayonnaise
on indifferent white bread.
Surely it was September,
my older brother at school.
The tomatoes were fragrant
and richly red, perhaps the last
I was alert to the joy of eating
sandwiches alone with Mama, bare
feet braced on the underpinnings
of the abraded kitchen table.
Once I'd made a mark in the wood
by pressing too hard as I traced
the outline of a horse.
I was no good at drawing--from life,
or from imagination. My brother
was good at it, and I was alert
to that, too.
Thyme for Cheese Popcorn
Pop a bunch of white popcorn kernels in your usual way. If you're a microwave popcorn kind of person, make sure you use the kind with no additives or flavorings. Dump the popcorn into a big bowl and drizzle melted butter over it. Chop a bunch of fresh thyme (I must have used at least 2 big tablespoons). Scatter thyme over popcorn, shake a bunch of dried parmesan from a can, and sprinkle some garlic powder to taste. Finely zest half a lemon over the top (this is where microplanes really shine) and finish with some kosher salt, tasting first to see how salty the cheese made things. Enjoy by yourself in front of the TV or with your young son who will appreciate you more someday.