Coordination Failures: Microwave Popcorn Edition

| 18 Comments

Every bag of microwave popcorn I have popped in the past two years has carried a singular warning: Do not use your microwave's popcorn button! or a similar warning. Act II, Orville Redenbacher, Jolly Time and so on all insist that you should listen to the pops, and when they occur in intervals greater than a second (or two seconds? pick one, please!), you should cease popping and commence burning yourself opening the bag.

It's a good thing this warning is omnipresent, because my microwave runs for 2:15 on the popcorn setting, but almost every bag I've popped requires 2:45 for optimal kernel popping. Many others have noted the same inconsistency:

Many microwave ovens have a designated popcorn button on the control panel. Do not use this button! It is evil. Always follow the instructions on the bag, or summon a grown-up to assist you.

Why this grand coordination failure on the part of microwave manufacturers and popcorn makers? Doesn't GE test their products? Why can't they send interns to the local Wal-Mart Supercenter to pick up a few bags, and align their hardwired settings for optimal popping? If they can't, why bother with the popcorn button at all?

Is popcorn really that diverse a product? Apparently, yes, and my problem is that I just don't have the really expensive microwave, which has humidity sensors to ensure proper popping:

[Swamy Anantheswaran, associate professor of food science in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences,] says microwave popcorn pops differently because of such variable factors as brand of popcorn, brand of oven, quality of the kernels, quality of the bag, age of the product and whether the product is salted.

Joy Daniel, senior manager of product development for Sharp Electronics Corp., explains that popcorn buttons differ in two ways. A "timed" popcorn button is designed to cook for a pre-set time based on the average cooking time for consumer popcorn brands. A "sensor" popcorn button will shut the oven off as soon as it senses a certain level of humidity indicating the popcorn is fully popped.

"Microwave popcorn may have more unpopped kernels because the manufacturers are less concerned with popping all the kernels than with providing the indicated quantity," Daniel says. "The manufacturers include more kernels to make sure the corn pops to a full bag every time."

I should have known that it's somebody's job to balance the quantity and quality of kernels in a bag of popcorn... I kind of like this reaction, though: "Wait a minute. My microwave doesn't have a popcorn button. I wuz robbed!!" One can hope for a simpler life...

18 Comments

You know I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel when I have to discuss popcorn in order to make a coherent post...

Eh, that's not too bad. It's when you're the first to comment on your own posts that I start to wonder...

Hmmm... at least I'm honest about it... do you think people actually comment on their own posts using pseudonyms?

I use a pseudonym (more correctly a nicknonym) whosoever's post I'm commenting on.

I prefer the hot air poppers for popcorn, but I will report that every bag of microwave pork rinds (which also specify an attention procedure) I have flashed as taken a unique different amount of time to show signs of completeness.

which brand of popcorn leaves the most kernals ?

i am doing a science project on which brand of popcorn leaves the most kernels... any suggestions???

i am doing a science project on which brand of popcorn pops the fastest? ....any suggestions?

I am also doing a project on which brand of popcorn leaves the most kernels.....could someone please help..... thanx...
:D - Lynisha

GET A LIFE PPL!!! USE DA POPCORN BUTTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

umm...we doin da project too it is fun! lol umm....i love pocorn...umm...da project easy basically cookin da popcorn countin how many kernels are left over :D .. :D :D :D yay! ....umm...bye

IT DOESNT TELL YOU WHAT POPCORN HAS THE MOST KERNAL

This is so gay yall whoeva made this up is gay!!! HAHAHAHA

I like
the evil button
part. :/

wow its so amazing how people have so much time on there hands these days and instead of doing this they could be makeing the world a better place to live in

this shit is so fucking gay make this shyt better dame no wonder plople dont look at this page DAME

hdtrghygfcgrhygdfhtyerhtrhtyh hehyhhhehyyyyhhyhehh

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin published on January 28, 2005 2:20 PM.

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