Low Sodium Recommendations

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penquin
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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby penquin » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:33 am

Don't hafta clean a hot air popper when it is done cooking your snack...just sayin'.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Ducatista » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:51 am

Bland wrote:Got any recommendations for corn and/or oil that you think are the best or does it really not matter much?

Oh, it matters.

Kernels
Forget yellow. Popcorn is my #1 favorite food, and yellow kernels don't even qualify. Blech.

Our house corn is Krinke's, has been for decades. Kernels are crisp, hulls are tender, flavor is great. I use half white baby rice and half black, but all white works, too. You can get it at the DCFM, Metcalfe's, and the Co-op, probably other places, too. Jenifer St, maybe?

We had popcorn every night when I was growing up, and my mom would buy white popcorn 10 or 20 lbs at a time in 2# bags from Fleet Farm (up north, ya know). Super cheap and plenty tasty. I think Farm & Fleet has similar corn.

Oil
I used to use peanut or canola or House of Tsang wok oil, which is flavored with garlic and ginger. Coconut is my current go-to, but only do that if you like the (slight) flavor it adds.

Topping
I'm a purist — nothing but plain popcorn salt, which is just table salt ground superfine. You can buy it at the grocery store, or make your own in a coffee or spice grinder. It's worth the cost (or hassle), because it sticks more easily and evenly.

Process
A batch for me is 1/3 cup kernels + 1T oil in a heavy-bottomed 2Qt pot, or double both in a 3Qt pot if my husband wants in on the action. I heat the oil over med-high heat, with a few test kernels tossed in. Once those pop, I dump in the kernels, swirl to coat them in oil, and cover the pot. My pot lids are vented. If yours aren't, I'd tilt the lid a bit. I shake the pot a few times as popping slows, and let the pot sit on the burner for several seconds after the last kernel pops because I like some lightly browned kernels in the batch.

As soon as I've dumped the kernels into a bowl, I fill the pot with HOT water from the tap and add a drop of dish liquid. That water-in-the-pot thing was verboten in my childhood home, but I think that's because we had thin-ish aluminum cookware. I've done it every batch for 30 years and my heavy stainless pots are still going strong. The pan is squeaky clean and oil free once I dump out the cooled water — except for the occasional stuck-on oil if I've been overzealous about the browning, and that comes right off with a little Barkeeper's Friend.

Bonus nostalgia trip: when I was little my mom & dad would wake up the kids during middle-of-the-night thunderstorms. Mom would make a big batch of popcorn, and we'd turn the sofa around to face out the giant picture window so we could eat popcorn and watch the lightning show. T-storms and popcorn have always been two of my favorite things.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Ducatista » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:59 am

penquin wrote:Don't hafta clean a hot air popper when it is done cooking your snack...just sayin'.

No cooking, even less cleanup, and just as much flavor if you snack on styrofoam packing peanuts.

(I kid, I kid. I know other people who like air-popped corn. I don't get it, but I don't have to.)

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby penquin » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:24 am

I usually melt butter in the (gasp!) microwave so my 'corn does get some of that oh-so-good greasy stuff that our body craves. Unless I am putting hot sauce on the popcorn, of course.....'cause the only plants that should be eaten with buffalo sauce is raw celery and raw carrots.

And if it isn't considered "cooking" (which I agree a strong argument can be made for) then what is popping 'corn considered? Preparing? Heating up? Grainploding?

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Ducatista » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:47 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
fennel wrote:The first rule of Kitchen Club, is that if you have anything on your counter that you use less than 3-4 times per week, remove it.

I appreciate you're trying to be helpful but that's a ridiculous benchmark for me.

Everybody's got their stylistic/functional mix, right? I keep a coffeemaker and electric kettle on the counter, tucked in next to the fridge. Next to the sink: a lovely celadon Art Deco pitcher that holds shears and writing implements. Along that same (windowed) wall, a little lamp and an 8lb slate tissue box holder that doesn't budge when you pull a tissue out of the box. Other than that: nothing. Even the knives hang on the walls. Everything else, even things we use one or two times a week, is stashed in a cabinet or closet. I LOVE the look of empty countertops. So soothing and easy to clean. But I have friends with cozily crammed counters, and it suits them and makes me happy when I'm in their kitchens. I just don't want that for mine.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Ducatista » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:48 am

penquin wrote:And if it isn't considered "cooking" (which I agree a strong argument can be made for) then what is popping 'corn considered?

I think it IS cooking. I'm just saying you could skip the cooking altogether if you go with the packing peanuts.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Bland » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:01 pm

Ducatista wrote:
Bland wrote:Got any recommendations for corn and/or oil that you think are the best or does it really not matter much?

Oh, it matters.


Wow. Was not expecting such a passionate response. Thanks!

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:29 pm

Ducatista wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
fennel wrote:The first rule of Kitchen Club, is that if you have anything on your counter that you use less than 3-4 times per week, remove it.

I appreciate you're trying to be helpful but that's a ridiculous benchmark for me.

Everybody's got their stylistic/functional mix, right?

Absolutely, and again, I really am appreciative for fennel's (and everyone else's) contributions so I apologize if I came off as too dismissive.

Part of the reason I'm not too particular about the aesthetics of my kitchen (apart from a sad apathy about such matters in general) is there's little I could do to make it look nice short of remodeling from scratch, which is something I'd love to do if anyone wants to give me their winning lottery ticket. It's an '80s nightmare in there, from the awful built-in breakfast nook table that juts into the middle of the room, to the all-white counter tops (seriously, who the fuck thought that was a good idea?), to the (non-working) dishwasher with fake wood paneling to match the awful cabinetry, to the hideous wallpaper patterned with diamonds and pears. If I were house-hunting today, the kitchen here would absolutely be a deal killer. But when I bought the house a dozen years ago, I didn't cook, so I didn't care. I was more concerned about where to store all my media.
Ah, priorities . . .

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby fennel » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:17 pm

My kitchen was last remodeled in the early 70s or maybe late 60s. No dishwasher, some really vile wallpaper (dreary approximations of grapes and apricots, apparently growing from the same vine — separated by vertical channels of splotchy fig prints ), and some quite nice mahogany plywood cabinets. I'd love to save those when I remodel, one day, but they're built in place, and so probably can't be salvaged.

Countertops are formica, which is perfectly functional and which can't be made uglier by abuse. I had to move the stove to an adjacent room to allow for venting and traffic flow. That's an odd arrangement, but it works.

So aesthetics are not a priority for me, especially if such refinements detract from functionality. (Granite countertops? Give me a break!) But you go with what you've got — just like camping. Rebuilding your workflow and workspace (within the scope of what's practical) can be a fun exercise.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby snoqueen » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:38 pm

I love the descriptions of the wallpaper. That stuff is so awful it's fun.

And I wouldn't remove those built-in-place cabinets for anything. You'd only replace them with fake wood grain chip board that smells weird for a year and the shelves sag.

And why not put the stove in a different room? In my old place the refrigerator was in a different room for years, until finally I re-did the whole kitchen. Nothing bad happened.

My present kitchen is very normal but does not have an island. The room is just not configured with a place for one.

Also, there's no way to remove the wall and build a breakfast bar between my kitchen and living room because the basement stairs are in the way.

I can imagine the next owner tearing the place apart, trying to cram an island somewhere and looking for a better location for the damn stairs. Hint: there isn't one. These older houses pretty much are what they are.

More power to those who are content with what they have.

I am staying out of the low sodium discussion because you do not want to hear my suggestions. Trust me.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:45 pm

snoqueen wrote:I am staying out of the low sodium discussion because you do not want to hear my suggestions. Trust me.

You have to know this just makes me more curious than ever, right?
This kind of suspense will only fuel my insomnia, and heck knows that's no good for my blood pressure!

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby fennel » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:08 pm

snoqueen wrote:And I wouldn't remove those built-in-place cabinets for anything. You'd only replace them with fake wood grain chip board that smells weird for a year and the shelves sag.
No, I've resolved myself to having custom-made cupboards made if I can't salvage these (and they would be so sweet, once I'd be done with them). No particle board anywhere in my house, and no pressure-treated lumber.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby snoqueen » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:23 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
snoqueen wrote:I am staying out of the low sodium discussion because you do not want to hear my suggestions. Trust me.

You have to know this just makes me more curious than ever, right?
This kind of suspense will only fuel my insomnia, and heck knows that's no good for my blood pressure!


Oh, I just believe in clean living for health. I'm a vegetarian, to begin with. You can do vegetarian with very little salt -- it's a whole different array of flavors. Daily exercise, as simple as a half hour walk and some yard work. I agree with the other person who mentioned cutting back on the drinking. Way back.

People do not want this kind of suggestions and I'm well aware nagging usually makes the person double down on whatever thing they're doing. So I leave it alone.

I truly believe half this country's health and healthcare problems would be best addressed with lifestyle changes if only human nature didn't stand in the way.

But it does.

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:03 pm

snoqueen wrote:People do not want this kind of suggestions . . .

No, those are good suggestions but they're also not anything I don't already know. I don't think I'm cut out to be a vegetarian, but I've increased my vegetable intake from essentially zero twenty years ago to the majority of what I eat today, so pointing me towards favorite recipes or suggesting uses/preparations/combinations I may not have thought of would certainly be welcome. And my actual knowledge of the health benefits (or lack thereof) when it comes to veggies is exceptionally poor. Surely some vegetables must have naturally higher sodium content than others, for example, but I have no idea.

snoqueen wrote:I truly believe half this country's health and healthcare problems would be best addressed with lifestyle changes if only human nature didn't stand in the way.
Could not agree more.
But I think I've demonstrated (in recent years anyway) that I am more than capable of making lifestyle changes if and when I put my mind to it. I've already acknowledged I am (literally painfully some days) aware that I need to get out of my chair and exercise more and trust me, I have no pretensions that my drinking habits are anything but unhealthy. I just know that changing everything at once is a losing strategy. Currently, band rehearsal is hands-down the thing I look forward to and enjoy the most every week and drinking has always been a part of that routine for me. That's why I call it good for my mental health. Fun times are important. I've not gotten drunk lots of times in the past when I've had to drive myself to practice for whatever reason (usually I hitch a ride with the drummer) and yeah, it's still fun, but I'd be lying if I said it even came close to being just as fun as when I get hammered. Still, not to toot my own horn but: Learning to resist the fast food temptation was big. Quitting smoking was big. Giving up bacon and salami was big. I'm currently working hardest on cutting waaaaaaaaaaay down on my cheese intake and at least eating lower sodium cheese when I just can't beat the cravings. If I'd tried to do all those things at once though, I'm pretty certain I would have failed at all of them. I believe (and may well be rationalizing or just plain wrong) that my drinking isn't adversely affecting my health as badly as my poor eating habits were and while I've made some great strides towards rectifying that, I clearly have a ways to go yet. (And for the record, I've curbed my drinking considerably over the years anyway, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being I cannot drink multiple days in a row like I did in my youth without feeling like crap and I will not drive drunk but now reside on the West Side, far from all the shows and parties I like to attend.)

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Re: Low Sodium Recommendations

Postby thebookpolice » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:33 am

Just chiming in to say you can make microwave popcorn by buying regular old popcorn kernels, putting a third of a cup in a brown paper lunch sack -- splash of oil or melted butter optional -- crimping the bag a few times to keep everything contained, and setting the microwave for 90 seconds. You may not need all those seconds, so stay close by and bail early if you notice the pops are getting noticeably spaced out. No second appliance, no cleanup, and if you don't use butter or any other oil in it, you can recycle the bag when you're done.


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