Here's the Scoop: December 19, 2012

A kernal of truth
I’ve been banned from writing about Christmas this week because there have been accusations of me giving away too much present information and ruining the element of surprise. Funny, I looked at it as saving money on wrapping paper.

Nevertheless, I’m not allowed to discuss presents — real or imagined — this week. So, I’m just going to write about the first thing that pops into my head. OK, the winning topic is: kettle corn!
As a general rule, I associate kettle corn with carnivals and county fairs. Since we’re a long way from fair season, kettle corn has been on my mind (and stuck to my fingers) a lot lately because I recently purchased “a supply.” The goods came via the child of some friends, who was selling kettle corn as part of an organizational fund-raiser.

Can’t refuse
This young man has a sales pitch like an icy sidewalk — he’ll easily have you falling. I’ve been buying items from him for a few years and it’s never a question of him closing the deal. The only real decision-making involves which items will be selected from his catalog. The past few years, I have purchased caramel corn, but decided to step out of my comfort food zone and go with kettle corn this time around. It was a good choice.

If you’ve purchased anything from a campaign associated with an organization, you realize that most of the funds don’t go to the people who actually do the grunt sales work. It’s the anonymous folks at the top who are steering the “drive.”

It’s really quite brilliant. Tagging a fund-raiser with an organizational name provides huge profits, because the items put up for sale don’t really qualify as “bargains.” In fact, purchasing a few boxes of kettle corn put my car payment in jeopardy.

Tastes like...more
That financial pain is quickly forgotten, though, when the first batch of kettle corn emerges from the microwave. I have researched kettle corn a bit and, apparently, the folks in Pennsylvania did not have the luxury of cooking up their batches with the aid of microwave in the late 1700s when this treat arrived on these shores — thus the need for the kettle.

For those of you may not have had the pleasure of enjoying this taste sensation, Wikipedia describes this concoction as: a sweet-and-salty variety of popcorn that is typically mixed or seasoned with a light-colored refined sugar, salt and oil. I like to call it yummy.
I’m a sucker for a sweet-and-salty combo. Eating such snacks does, however, present the problem of beverage accompaniment: milk or beer? Diner’s choice, I guess.

The really great thing about this snack is that the “corn” ingredient implies that this junk food provides a certain degree of nutritional value. I haven’t really researched whether the added ingredients offset the “good stuff” contained in kettle corn — it might spoil my appetite.
The only thing I know is that my recent kettle corn “investment” is nearly gone. Maybe Santa will bring me a new supply. I know I’m not supposed to mention “presents” in this column, but this plea just sort of popped up. I can’t help it, when it comes to snack food, I’m a kernel-a-vore.
— Brian Sweeney