Pop Quiz

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

What whole-grain snack item pops up during October, it’s nationally designated tribute month?

What native grass plant have people in the Americas been cultivating for its kernels for the last 7,000 years?

What a-maize-ing products have local Cub Scouts been peddling lately as their annual fund-raiser?

If you answered ‘popcorn’ to all of the above questions, give yourself pop star status.

Although popcorn has become a real convenience food, from pre-popped to microwave packets, making it a real go-to snack—so much so that the average American eats up to 68 quarts of popped corn per year!—it’s still fun to pop it up on the stove the old fashioned way. The following recipe is a quick way to transform a handful of kernels into a fun gourmet treat. Of course, it relies on good popping corn, so find a friendly Scout, stock up on popcorn and test out my recipe to raise your maize IQ. Class dismissed.


Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn 


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons lightly packed fresh rosemary, finely minced

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt


In a large heavy-bottomed pan with a tight -fitting lid, place the oil, garlic slices and two kernels of popcorn. Cover and turn the heat to medium. Keep an eye on the garlic; if it seems as if it’s browning too quickly, remove the brown slices with a fork.

Meanwhile, combine the rosemary, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a small bowl, crumbling the mixture between your fingers until uniformly combined.

When you hear the test kernels pop, pour in the rest of the popcorn and shake the pan to evenly coat the kernels and to prevent the garlic from over-browning. Continue to cook, shaking the pan steadily and lifting it from the heat as necessary, until the popping has all but stopped.

Turn off the heat, lift the lid and drizzle the melted butter over the kernels, tossing to coat. Sprinkle in the rosemary-parmesan mixture until the popcorn is evenly coated. Serve immediately.