Popcorn Makers

We had an old cheapie hot air popcorn maker that we bought for around $15, and it was okay. It would throw a lot of un-popped kernels out of the machine and into the bowl, and blow popped popcorn all over the place, but there was some fun novelty to popping popcorn this way compared to in the microwave or on the stove. And the popcorn it did pop was pretty good.

But then it broke.

I was at Zellers last night and they had a Beaumark Cinema Popper on sale for $44.95. It was big, and expensive, so I figured it must be good. I picked it up, brought it home, set it up, and started reading the manual.

I can't believe people pop popcorn this way:

  • You have to split your butter up into 6 separate pats and place them over the 6 holes provided under the lid.
  • You use vegetable oil on the hot surface, which means you need to clean it after you use it (compared to the hot air popper where you don't).
  • There's no on-off switch; you plug it in and it starts heating.
  • You have to un-plug it when you think the popcorn is done.
  • During the last moments when you're wondering if it's done yet, the popcorn that's already popped is still on the heating surface, and likely burning, while you're waiting for the rest of it to pop.
  • The lid is also the bowl, so you just turn it over and take the base off. Convenient right? Not so fast. First off, that vegetable oil you put in earlier? Now it's hot vegetable oil, and likely to pour out when you turn it over. And the base you need to pick up is hot too, so you're awkwardly holding the hot base upside down and trying not to spill oil on yourself once you've taken it off the bowl.

That last straw broke the camel's back; the thing is going back to the store.

I started looking around Amazon, which has a whole Popcorn Poppers category, and found a review of my previous hot air popper. Apparently people didn't like that one much:

"More than half the popcorn didn't pop, and I felt caught in some kind of insane popcorn crossfire while it was popping - shot popcorn all over the place, popped and unpopped. It practically only makes a handful per refill. Horrid." - Rebecca

But there is good news! One bad hot air popper does not a bad category make. The Presto 04820 PopLite Hot Air Corn Popper got 4.5 stars. I'm going to give it a chance.

And since I was paying for shipping anyway I went for some Amish Country Baby White Popcorn and some real Popcorn Salt.

Or I would have. I had it all in my shopping cart and ready to pay for, when Amazon said "sorry". They don't ship any of that stuff to Canada. What's a popcorn lover to do?