5. Kitchen Mobility Popcorn

I practiced my kitchen mobility skills this week by popping popcorn.  Now before you scoff too much let me assure you that doing such a thing is no small feat for me.  You have to get the popcorn, oil, butter and salt close to the stove, get a pot out, and for me, the trickiest part was reaching overhead for the “popcorn bowl.”  This particular bowl has held popcorn in our house for a couple of decades, but it originally held fruit – a gift from Dad’s main secretary/assistant from our childhood.  When I moved to OR I purchased my own popcorn bowl – a giant green and white melamine square on clearance at Target – and it was perfectly sized to receive those fluffy kernels when I popped them in my wok.  I attribute my love of popcorn to EOHR, who taught me how to pop popcorn on the stove and served hers in multiple stainless steel mixing bowls that were a wedding gift.  She needed a lot of bowls since a lot of people were over for a LOTR marathon – costumes were encouraged, so there were hobbits and wizards, and ICR was dressed as the Steward of Gondor and no one had any earthly idea who he was, but we had a great time guessing.

I recently told my new Rehab Doctor that I wanted to cook, but I wasn’t comfortable using knives and the stove yet, so she told me to tell her when I was ready and then she’d send me to Occupational Therapy cooking school.  Cooking was actually a goal my therapists set for me at The Place.  About a year ago OT6 informed me that I did not have 4 hours to bake cookies so I had better hustle.  OT8 was there to put my cookies in the oven (there’s no alternative way to do that or drain pasta, so you have to ask for help) and my Funfetti cookies turned out yummy if a little misshapen.  Another task of mine was to make blue box mac & cheese in 20 minutes.  I think my starting time was around 45 minutes, but after a few batches of cheesy pasta my body adjusted enough to meet my OT6’s time goal.

At home I occasionally make things that don’t require using sharp objects (that’s how Dad ate his first and last pbj a few months ago), but since Mommy has always been so much better at this sort of thing than I am, I’m so thankful she’s here to feed me and Tanpo.  I do, however, enjoy the freedom of being able to pop my own popcorn, so I’m going to keep practicing.  If you want to practice, too, here are instructions:

  1. Put oil (olive, canola, whatever) in the bottom of a pan.  This pan should have a cover – preferably vented, but if not, when you’re popping the popcorn, occasionally let the steam out carefully.
  2. Put 2 kernels in the bottom of the pan; cover and place the pan on medium or med/low heat.  When you hear the kernels pop you know the oil is hot enough.
  3. Cover the bottom of the pan with kernels.  Shake them around to coat them in oil and distribute them nicely.
  4. Cover the pan and shake it  while keeping it on the burner.  (You need the heat but want to prevent burning.)
  5. Listen until the popping is intermittent – kind of the same amount of time between pops that you’d listen for if popping in the microwave.
  6. Remove from heat and pour popcorn into the popcorn bowl.
  7. While pan is still hot, throw a chunk of butter in there to melt.  You may add some olive oil to this if you like.
  8. Pour over the corn, salt to taste, toss and enjoy!