Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chocolate popcorn: What’s the verdict?

My friend is a popcorn purist and is known for presenting a mean batch of butter-soaked stuff from a Whirley Pop. As decadent as that is, I try to stick to air-popped corn with olive oil. Every month or so I make it an evening meal.

For my birthday, she gave me something she considered an “abomination:” chocolate-covered, salted popcorn. The thought of it makes her shudder, but she knows I have even experimented with a dandelion salad made from “weeds” in my back yard. I knew a salty/sweet blend would be good. I’m just glad I didn’t eat all that richness in one sitting. I still have some for later.

Every time she mentions the chocolate popcorn to someone, that someone will rave on about how my friend should try the stuff. I’m glad she didn’t break the seal on the bucket she gave me. I might not have received the gift.

Try a different bean

I’ve been hearing a lot about hummus in connection with people who haven’t tried chickpeas. Hummus is a taste I learned to acquire and it’s a healthy alternative to lots of snacks. The authentic blend has lots of history, but I’m always willing to play. I made extra black-eyed peas when they were everywhere for New Year’s, with plans to modify a hummus recipe. I’ll blend the beans into spread and season it with olive oil, lemon and salt. I predict it will be great on lettuce leaves or pita.

Cooking from inside the box?

Fabulous photos make a cookbook exciting. I’m picturing herb-covered meats heaped on platters and bowls of greens on a beautiful table. “The Diet Detective’s All American Diet” book, with Dr. Charles Platkin, is full of photos in a different way. Pictures are of boxes of foods. While experts are usually asking Americans to steer clear of processed and packaged foods, this book goes with the concept that plenty of us depend on canned soups and frozen dinners to make it through the week. A good starting point would be to know how many calories are in your favorite fish fillets or breakfast sandwich. This is not my favorite way to eat, but I certainly have seen it done. Ideally people will get to where they can cook their own foods in just a short time and reap the benefits. Lots of people don’t know where to start, and the Diet Detective can get those who have pledged to eat better rolling down the grocery aisle armed with better choices.

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