Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sure, when it rains it pours

And I am not talking about the nor'easter that came through here. I am talking about Morton's Salt products. Specifically, Morton's Popcorn Salt. It's regular old non-iodized salt that is ground super-fine to stick to the popcorn. Now I know that probably seems ridiculous, buying a salt that is essentially the same as any other salt (and doesn't even protect against goiters!). And believe me, I'm the first to call something like that ridiculous.

But you must understand the role of popcorn in our household. It's not a food item so much as it is a way of life. We eat it maybe once a week or more. It's as simple as can be, and it's really really good. I use organic kernels and peanut oil (a higher smoke point than other oils and also delicious), and pop it in a dedicated cast iron dutch oven. Like, put it on the heat, shake shake shake, put it back on the heat, shake shake shake. Then I pour it into the biggest metal mixing bowl we have, and salt it while it's hot. I even have a special method for tossing it to distribute the salt.

I had never made it on the stovetop until a few years ago; it wasn't something my parents did when I was growing up or anything. But microwave popcorn was just one of the many processed-food casualties in our household after I read "The Omnivore's Dilemma." And I do not miss it at all. This popcorn actually tastes like corn. And you know, coming from Iowa, that means a lot. So the flavor's better, the texture of the kernels is better, and it's not any harder to make, once you get the hang of it. Jeffrey sometimes goes rogue and makes air-pop popcorn, but it's just not as good. He usually does it when I'm not in the mood to make it my way or I'm not home. Then I'll come in the house and say, "I smell that!" and he'll look sheepish about the cheater's popcorn. But that doesn't happen very often, and I'm quick to make a batch of the good stuff.

So OK, back to the salt. It does what it's supposed to, therefore I believe it is somewhat not ridiculous. But it seems to have disappeared from the shelves in our local stores. I went to 3 of them today and couldn't find it. Unh!

I learned about product lifespans in college. Before that I didn't know why things like Jell-O Pudding Pops disappeared; Maybe the gods were angry? And I understand that the demand for popcorn salt must be minimal since most people eat microwave popcorn, and if you salt that, you must shrivel up like a slug.

But I still want it. Sure, I can grind my own salt finer, but then I'd have to somehow modify our salt shakers. And if they discontinue it entirely, I will likely resort to that. I even went online this afternoon to order it from Morton's, but the shipping is ridiculous. Luckily, I discovered that there is one store in the next town over that carries it. So that is where I am headed. And I will buy up their entire stock.

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