Popcorn Peril | Food News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published May 1, 2008 at 12:12 p.m.

Throughout the winter months, my CSA share occasionally provided popcorn on the ear with instructions about how to prepare the snack in a microwave. It seemed easy enough: put the ear in a paper bag, tape the bag shut, nuke it.

Not having a microwave at home I ended up with a bunch of ears, but today I had a brainstorm: I could bring a them to the office and make popcorn for everybody. I headed to work armed with the sea salt, butter and corn, sure that I was going to make my coworkers' days by providing a fun and tasty snack.

No so much. I placed the corn in the bag, reminding myself that folks put paper towels in the microwave all the time, so it must be safe. I was actually more worried about the tape, to be honest. I put the bag in the machine, set it for three minutes, and stood there listening for the inevitable explosive noises of popping.

After 30 or 40 seconds I sniffed the air and decided that something wasn't quite right. I hit stop, opened the door, and noticing smoke coming from the bag, decided to throw it in the sink and douse it with cold water. Lucky. Parts of the bag were scorched. If I hadn't taken it out, I'm pretty sure it would have caught on fire rather quickly. I'm thanking my lucky stars that I didn't walk away or use the restroom while I was waiting.

In any case, the office smells unpleasant and I don't have a tasty snack to help me smooth things over with my coworkers. I sent an email to Pete's Greens suggesting that they let their other shareholders know that the whole paper bag + electromagnetic waves = potential burning down of the building.

I'm feeling a little shaky...not sure if it's the smoke inhalation or the knowledge that I could have set off the sprinkler system in our building. What a bad start to the afternoon!