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POP-Corn: 5 Days of Butter-Slicked Music and Chili-Laced Snacks

Posted by Amie / September 17, 2011

Pop-corn-MontrealThought popcorn was just for movies? Thought it only came in a bag? Wrong and wrong. Turns out it's the perfect stove-top snack to get you through POP Montreal, the annual 5-day celebration of local indie music. Whether that means classic butter and salt, or a mix of cayenne, cloves, cinnamon and sugar, throw out those carcinogen-laced microwave popcorn packets and get yourself ready to check out some great Montreal music. Music recommendations included.

So you're heading to a show and need some energy. Normally I'd recommend poutine for all food-related necessities, but that comes AFTER the show, preferably around midnight. So what options are left for dinner? A chunk of protein or a pasta-heavy meal? Nope, those will make your booty less shake-able, your hips less sway-able, and your head less nod-able (in rhythm, and in multiple directions). You don't want something light like a salad, (god forbid) because those lettuce leaves just aren't going to get you through to the end of the night. Last year I recommended energy bars, which I still stand by, but they just don't work as conveniently with the name of one Montreal's best music festivals as, say...

...popcorn! Or in this case, POP-corn. A simple snack, often neglected, too often abused. Here's how to do it the old fashioned way, and then the old fashioned way all jazzed up. Err..."indie'd-up", I mean:

POP-Corn for 4
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1/3 cup popping corn (this is just corn kernels. It comes in a plastic bag. You can buy it at the grocery store or at bulk food stores. Probably at select depanneurs. It is not grown inside an air-tight bag that magically unfolds itself as it's zapped by tiny waves)

1. Heat the oil in a large pot with a tight lid over medium-high heat. When the oil's hot add a small handful of the corn kernels and cover the pot (some popping corn bags will say add "three kernels". That's ridiculous. Why three? Why a tablespoon? Just add an approximate small handful. Chill out, No Name Brand. This method works too)

2. Let most of your small handful of corn kernels pop then, take the pop off the heat and count to 30. Then put the pot back on the heat and add the rest of the kernels.

3. Now the fun part. Cover the pot. Shake the pot front to back or side to side, not up and down (aka your pre-show warm-up before seeing Bass Drum of Death). After 3 seconds turn the heat down to medium and keep shaking the pot. When it's all popped turn off the heat.

POP-Corn Toppings/POP Montreal Show Recommendations:
1. The Classic (aka "You know you're going to like it")
Bonsound Showcase with Monogrenade, Megan Bonnell, Mark Bérubé + the Patriotic Few, and The Paint Movement:
Melt butter (however much you want. I'll caution you to max out at about 3 tablespoons for the sake of your arteries) in the microwave or a small pot if that's what you're into. Pour it over the popcorn, tossing the popcorn as your pour to spread the butter evenly. Sprinkle with salt. Toss again. Be thankful for unsalted, cultured butter and the French. Enjoy.

2. Sort of (Blue) Cheesy

Blue Skies Turn Black-sponsored Asobi Seksu, Jesuslesfilles, Fuck Montreal, and Amour a Jeun:
Sprinkle the popcorn with a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Sounds weird, but vegans have been getting it right for awhile now.

3. Spicy
The Masala DJs:
All the spices in this is optional except the cayenne pepper and the salt. Those are like sub-woofers at Piknic Electronik or synths to Krista Muir.
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (yellow or brown)
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (or 2 if you like it sweet and hot. Your popcorn, I mean)
1/2 tsp cayenne (or less or more depending on your cayenne. Nothing like mouth-burning, eye-watering suffocation to wreck your night)
a pinch of ground cloves
a pinch of cinnamon

Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds when hot, and then the sesame seeds a few seconds later. When the mustard seeds start to pop (it shouldn't take more than a few seconds), take the frying pan off the heat and stir in the turmeric. Pour the whole thing over the popcorn like butter, tossing it as you pour to spread it evenly. Then add the rest of the spices and toss again. Be thankful for chili peppers. Enjoy.



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