I'd like to take a moment to talk about a slightly controversial subject: popcorn. Chips are ok, pretzels get boring fast, and chex mix is downright peculiar. Popcorn, however, is the most divine snack food in the land, and is well liked by almost everyone. I refuse on principal to talk to those who don't like popcorn. It's not right.
The problem we face is that most methods of making popcorn aren't great. Movie theater popcorn tastes great, but is expensive and makes you feel sick after a while. Microwave popcorn is usually pretty gross (plus, I refuse to use a microwave.) Air poppers make the popcorn taste like air. My previous favorite method was to cook the popcorn over the stove in a big pot. This results in absolutely delicious popcorn, but it's difficult to pop all the kernels without burning some, and it's not too fun cleaning up the big pot afterwards.
Two weeks ago I was idly browsing a deal site when I came across the subject of this review : the Stir Crazy Popcorn Popper. It was on sale for $25 through Amazon (and still is). People seemed to love it, so I ordered it without hesitation.
When the package arrived, I couldn't wait to try it. We had an ice storm here in Austin, TX, but I braved it and made it to the supermarket to buy some popcorn. All they had was crappy store brand popcorn, so I still haven't tried it with anything better than that.
The popper is very simple. It's a non stick metal base with two stirring rods and a plastic bowl that covers the metal base so that popcorn doesn't go flying everywhere. Operation is simple - I put three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (they recommend vegetable, but it's not good for you so I don't use it) and almost one cup of popcorn. The first time I put just over one cup, and it was too much. Then I plug in the machine and put the bowl on top of the base.
Watching the popcorn pop is really fun. It looks like a cereal civil war or something, and I insist on watching the popping every time. After about five minutes the popcorn is fully popped and all I have to do is unplug the machine and flip it over so that the bowl is on the bottom. I remove the base and viola! A bowl of perfect popcorn.
The machine manages to leave almost no kernels unpopped. I get a few half popped ones, but I suspect that that has to do with the low quality popcorn I'm using right now. I used to eat popcorn once a week when I had people over to watch a movie, but now I eat it every day. Cleanup is extremely easy - I just wipe down the whole thing with paper towels and put it back into action.
If you like popcorn, then you should go buy this at Amazon. If you don't like popcorn, then you have no business being here.
I've been using the 8 qt. popper since it was put on the market some time ago. I eat the whole 8 by myself every Wednesday evening (movie night). I make a small batch for my wife first. I have a problem. My popper is wearing out and an 8 quart stir crazy is impossible to find,anywhere. Do you have any secret places to find one that you may be willing to share with me.
Thanks a lot
I'm about to add this to the wedding registry, and have to ask a dumb question I can't find an answer to anywhere. Coming from a hot-air popper user, can you use the stir crazy WITHOUT oil? Thanks guys!
I AM A 73 YEAR OLD SENIOR CITIZEN. I LOVE,LOVE ANY KIND OF POPCORN. I BUY MICROWAVE BUTTER FLAVORED POPCORN AND EAT 1/2 BAGFUL EVERY EVENING WHILE WATCHING T.V.
I ALSO LOVE KETTLE CORN. WHAT I AM CONCERNED ABOUT IF IT IS BAD FOR ME TO EAT IT EVERY DAY. I HOPE NOT, CUZ I JUST LOVE IT. I AM VERY HEALTHY FOR MY AGE AND WOULD NOT LIKE TO GET SICK. PLEASE LET ME KNOW. GOD BLESS YOU AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH. MARGARET MORENO
I am a popcorn fan too. As for the Stir Crazy, I got mine as a gift about 12 months ago. Pops great! Followed all use and care instructions. The bowl cracked all the way down one side with the 3rd use. Bought a replacement bowl. It did the same thing though it did make it for a few more uses. Bought a second replacement bowl because I really like the way the corn pops. Did not use the third bowl to serve the popcorn, figured less handling, hand washed by putting the bowl on the counter so no accidental slipping out of the hands, etc. Hand dried, stored entire machine in the box it originally came in. This bowl made it about 6 weeks before it too developed a crack about 4 inches long on one side. By now I'm angry. Email a company called Focus, they handle these machines now. They called within a couple days, I was impressed. Not so much after the woman started speaking to me as if I were a dishonest 3 year old moron. They want an original receipt to accompany the popcorn popper returned to them and you have to pay for it. Only if they determine the damage was not caused by you will they think about setting things right. So you are out more money because they put out shoddy merchandise? No receipt, it was a gift. She asked my name and address and came back on the line in a couple minutes stating they had no record of my having purchased any replacement bowl much less two. Now I'm at the point if I could reach through the phone and choke her I would because this is when she REALLY goes into the "You are dishonestly trying to cheat us out of a $13 bowl" tone of voice. She goes on to say (in case anybody else needs this information) unless you can prove you bought the replacement part within the last 90 they suggest you buy a new popcorn popper because they are no longer liable to replace the defective part. I have to agree with another review I saw on another site, makes no difference how good the popper is if the bowl is crap. Oh, and I DID follow her suggestion and buy another machine, made sure it was not only not West Bend but was placed at the opposite end of the shelves from the West Bend products for fear the horrendous quality (by which I mean to say the very antithesis of quality) might have somehow contaminated the other merchandise.
Popcorn rocks! I eat popcorn easily 3-4 nights a week (it's whole grain, you know). I bought a Whirly Pop because it reminded me of the enameled one my mom had when I was a kid, and used it til it finally broke. When I went to get another I found the Stir Crazy 6-Qt. at Target. Love watching the stuff pop (I use Orville, of course, cause it always pops up fluffy), then flipping it over and Voila! it's a serving bowl. Buying another one this week!
These poppers are highly desirable by those who've tried them. They work GREAT and they are minimal care. The only difficult thing about them is flipping the fully-popped, fully-loaded unit over to drop the popped corn into the bowl/lid. It does get a little hot, and isn't light to lift. We are on our 3rd one because, at some point, one is tired or careless and drops the base from table height onto the floor. This usually breaks off at least one handle of the base housing. You can still use it, but it becomes really really difficult to flip, and some folks are afraid of exposed electric heating coils (oil fires?). DON'T throw away old parts! All the bases are the same, only the lid size changes, so you can have an extra bowl around, and extra power cords and stirring parts, even if you have to get a new base! Wish I'd known this before. When we have friends over, an extra bowl or 2 would have come in handy.
Don't for get to use popcorn salt instead of table salt. Also, we like eating our popcorn out of the stircrazy bowls (because of the salt that sticks to the sides). So when you replace your stir-crazy poppers, be sure to keep the old plastic bowl and lid so that you can use it with your new popper and now you can have two bowls.
For those of you who were linked here, or who are new to my blog this year, every year I write a gear post which contains every single item I travel with. Despite being minimal, the set of gear is fully functional, allowing me to be comfortable and productive everywhere from the tropical beaches of the Caribbean to the ski mountains of Tahoe.
This year I thought I'd start off by sharing some of the principles behind my gear selection. You can use these principles to guide your own gear search, or simply to evaluate whether my choices match your own needs.
The overriding priority in my search is functionality. I will always choose function over form, even if the difference in form is large and the difference in function is minor. I've simply found that my productivity is not improved when a device I use is prettier, and that my enjoyment of travel is not affected by the style of my clothing. This is why my clothes tend not to be from mainstream brands and why Apple products very rarely make it to my gear list.
Functionality may be my overriding priority, but size and weight are close. Unlike fashion, I have found that having a lighter pack allows me more flexibility and enjoyment. There's a huge difference between having to check in to a hotel to drop off luggage and being able to go straight from a train to a mountain to climb. I also really like stretching out layovers to be a half or full day instead of two hours, so having a light pack allows me to do whatever I want without having to find somewhere to leave my luggage.
O and B are becoming acquainted with a new member of my little family.
I mentioned in a couple of previous posts that I've been reading a lot lately. Well, there's a reason for this.
Truthfully, in spite of my love of reading in general, it has taken a distant backseat to all of my musical and artistic pursuits over the last couple of years. If I could, there would be two or three books that I could be working my way through, but that generally creates more of a hassle in terms of lugging them around and frequently misplacing them (as I am prone to doing more than I should).
Several years ago, Amazon (dot) com, the behemoth online get-whatever-the-heck-you-want website to end all websites, released it's first version of The Kindle. It was a portable and digital reader that allowed folks to read books and carry them around within a little machine. It could be held easily in one hand and weighed less than 9 ounces. I was fairly skeptical when I first heard about it. I've long loved the smell and feel of books and the physical act of turning a page. To me, this is like a warm bowl of soup on a cold day or a soft bed to lie in when taking a nap. Reading an actual book has always felt like home to me.