Holiday weekends are for hot dogs, movies and hot buttered popcorn. Hold the diacetyl.
If movie night for you includes microwave popcorn…you might want to read this piece from the Grist blog. I guarantee you’ll think twice about popping that butter-flavored popcorn in the microwave.
It’s entertaining reading (if reading about disabilities caused by the industrial flavoring chemical diacetyl, can be called that) amidst the doom and gloom of food safety warnings. Once again, California legislators are on the forefront. One of the aspects of this news that made me laugh out loud is the absurd doublespeak of our governmental officials of the food industry hacks.
The Feds essentially acknowledge (sort of) that there is a genuine public safety issue while stating that the nature of it makes it impossible to investigate because technically it falls in between the stated missions of various agencies. Well, that’s comforting isn’t it?
The best comment comes from the food industry insider who claims the need for the chemical which is proven to cause irreparable lung damage is justified because there simply is no other single thing that provides that buttery flavor. Kudos to California Assemblywoman who succinctly notes that, um, BUTTER might actually do.
On regular trips to the left coast I have been known to rant about the safety warnings which cover every public surface as required by the hyper-vigilant California legislature. I remember the famous John Riggins advice to a Supreme Court Justice that she needs to “loosen up baby.” (Whereupon he, being loaded, fell flat on his face.) I mean it’s California, which this side of the Mississippi is short-hand for laid-back, stoner, hippie, choose one.
I’ve got to say the diligence of the California legislature seems to over-compensate for a handful of beach bums. Like a small man driving a big, long car, the handiwork of these hardworking protectors of the public is everywhere. The assumption seems to be we need to be saved from the perils of our own ignorance. Everywhere you turn, there are plaques with warnings, such as ‘Warning: the California legislature has determined that parking garages are known to contain toxic fumes which are harmful if inhaled.’ And, what exactly am I to do with this knowledge? Not breathe while I park the car or walk through the garage?
Anyway, I feel they’ve kind of redeemed themselves with the Assemblywoman’s concise and witty response and her pursuit of worker safety. Now that Californians are making sense to me, I'm sure this represents my first step on the path to the hell, or at least to California. Sure as the sun will shine, there will be a plaque on the door “Warning: The California legislature has determined that hell can be hazardous to your health.”
Alternative to Chemi-pop
Take a regular lunch bag, place about one-third cup of popping corn in it. Fold the top, one staple to close and your microwave popcorn will be ready in a couple minutes. No oil, no transfat, no guilt about bronchiolitis obliterans. I never took Latin, but I’m relatively certain that any illness containing the word “obliterans” can’t be good.
Toppings for your home made microwave popcorn can include: butter, grated parmigiano reggiano, a sprinkle of Old Bay, hot sauce or that great retro-hippie combo: brewer’s yeast and soy sauce.