Friday April 06, 2012 | 12:52 PM

I like popcorn and prefer to make it in my Whirley Pop popper on my stove top. But my dad? He is a true popcorn connoisseur and has made his nearly daily supply (60+ years) on his stove top with a regular pot. He has his favorite type of popping corn and oil and his own method for melting and drizzling on butter and adding salt. It's a ritual kind of cooking for him.

I inherited dad's love of popcorn but I don't make (or eat) it all the time. When I do, I enjoy butter on top but also like seasonings and lower fat choices as well. That's why I decided to pick up a bag of Little Lads herbal popcorn a couple of months ago at a local farm stand.

Little Lads has just enough salt and tang, along with some tasty spices, that really appeals to me. I thought when I mentioned trying this herbal version to my popcorn-loving dad, he would turn up his nose at the idea. I've only ever seen him eat popcorn with butter and salt. He surprised me though.

"I'd be willing to give it a try. I am a versatile popcorn person."

That wasn't the reply I expected and he was happy to have the opportunity to expound on the wonders of popcorn.

"Well, you have to go a long way to beat out Orville."

As in Orville Redenbacher. In my father's world he is the "true king of popcorn."

The reason?

"The texture of the corn matters. You get a lot more volume with Orville because every one of his kernels pop when you cook it. You don't get those little hard kernels. With Orville you get 100% popped."

This is a man who has spent his entire life making, and eating, popcorn. I have no reason to doubt he has analyzed the minutia of this food product during his 65 years of life.

"It involves science, Wen. I put a lot of years in to this. You have to listen to your father."

I agreed to quote him in this blog to confirm I was indeed listening.

A while back I suggested that dad try "white" popcorn because I thought he'd like the softer, lighter taste.

"I really like the white because I don't need to add butter all the time."

He rarely eats his popcorn without some melted (real) butter drizzled on top.

"I found kettle corn very disappointing though."

As dad has reminded me many times before, he doesn't like mixing his "sweet" with his "salty."

Dad talked for several more minutes about all the redeeming qualities of popcorn and reminded me of his meal-eating tendencies (which used to drive my mom (his ex-wife) a little crazy).

"Some days I don't eat supper. I just have a bowl of popcorn. You can make a meal out of it. You know, like when you go to the movies and eat popcorn. You're not hungry afterward."

I chuckled because I have been a witness to many (many, many) evenings of popcorn dinners.

In wrapping up this conversation dad accused me of putting popcorn in his brain.

"All this talk of popcorn has me craving it now. I am going to have to make some for breakfast I think."

And in the spirit of full disclosure, I had a bag of popcorn after this conversation (at about 10 a.m.).

It must be a genetics thing. 

Well at least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

About the Author

Wendy Almeida has been writing about enjoying the outdoors with kids in her monthly Kid Tracks Outdoors column for the Maine Sunday Telegram for 10 years. Her kids have grown up exploring the trails of Maine on foot, skis and bikes as well as through the geocache and EarthCache games. The family has found treasures of all sorts while out on the trail and the journey continues to be as much fun now that the kids are teenagers as it was when they were preschoolers.

On Twitter and Instagram at @wea1021.

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