Parmesan Popcorn


What a week. I feel like I’ve been stomping out fires wearing impractical shoes. Some are effectively put out, others spread… and then there are the fireballs I keep dropping. All the while spending 3 hours of each day live on the radio, sleep deprivation and phlegm and all. Which may not always be the best idea.

Yesterday was W’s very first playschool party, for Valentine’s Day. The note home to parents instructed we bring a small snack “such as hummus and pita”. I love hummus and pita as much as the next guy, but did that mean no pink cupcakes? would sugar cookie hearts be frowned upon? Did I have to bring cut-up veggies? I spent far too much energy agonizing over what exactly it meant, deciphering and deconstructing it as if I were fifteen and it was a note from a boy. I finally settled on popcorn. Festive, right? Kids love it, right? It dodged concerns over nut, wheat, dairy and egg allergies, if there were any. W made a play for pink popcorn, and I might have gone ahead and made a batch if I had an hour and a box of raspberry Jell-O; instead I drizzled the popcorn with melted butter and olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese as it tumbled warm from the hot-air popper. I’d have added pepper, too, if the bowl weren’t destined for a room of three and four-year-olds.

The party was a mob of cuteness: preschoolers clamouring to put paper hearts into each others’ pink and red bags, then sitting in a circle in their slippers singing “You Are My Sunshine”, at which point it was all I could do to not deliquesce into a snotty, sobbing puddle in the mini wooden kitchen area. The parents, I have to point out, were a perfect splits of moms and dads – seven of each – I do love this community. And the food – most homemade, and one batch of Rice Krispie squares, made by a dad who also happens to be a chef – see? chefs make Rice Krispie squares too, with sprinkles even, when they have adorable little girls.

And while I’m documenting the few things that came out of my kitchen this week, I should probably mention the peanut butter and bacon cookies I made on Tuesday to bring to the studio. I’d heard rumours of peanut butter bacon cookies and how delicious they were. I had seen recipes that call for drippings, but I used my standby peanut butter cookie recipe (1 1/2 cups peanut butter, 1 cup white or brown sugar, 1 egg white; roll into balls, press with a fork and bake at 350F for 12ish minutes) and stirred in some chopped bacon only because a few cooked slices had found their way into my fridge when my folks emptied their fridge of perishables before leaving town. A tasty experiment – only a few people were revolted by them. And not because they looked a little scabby.

Dinners? Remember those things I used to report on a daily basis? They’ve mostly been from the freezer, although Mike did make a batch of dough while I was at work today, which I turned into a pizza at close to 7. W, fooling around, leaned in to take a lick of the crust seconds after I pulled the sheet from a 450 degree oven, pressing his chin against the hot metal; I’ve spent the last hour cuddling him and watching Shrek with a cool cloth on the red welt under his lip. Which hasn’t been a bad way to spend the evening, really. (For me – not so much for him.)

And HEY! Blog Aid! We’re in the final stretch! I’m just totally blown away by everyone’s generosity. We’ve decided to wrap up this project tomorrow – Friday February 12th – to coincide with the Canadian government’s program to match donations to aid organizations working in Haiti. So if you don’t have your copy, you have 12 more hours to order one. Or two. Or ten.

You can order your copy here.

Enormous thanks again to West Canadian Graphics and Blurb for making this happen. And of course to the lovely, generous and talented Cathryn Ironside, and all twenty-seven food bloggers who contributed photos and recipes. We’ve sold another 90 since dinnertime! Yahoo.


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20 comments on “Parmesan Popcorn

  1. Jennifer Jo
    February 12, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Have you tried popcorn with cayenne and demerara sugar and fresh rosemary? It’s my go-to snack these days.

  2. linda
    February 12, 2010 at 6:08 am

    blub sent me an email…my cookbook is on the way to me!!
    great, superb, awesome, generous effort by you & the entire “team” that gave so much for those that lost so much…all the best.

  3. bellini valli
    February 12, 2010 at 6:44 am

    I remember the days when my daughter was in nursery school. When they graduated with their cap and gowns it was the epitomy of cuteness and tears were flowing….. once again congrats on the success of BlogAid’s cookbook!!!

  4. Lana in South Mountain (ON)
    February 12, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I spent last night’s “Survivor” premiere, running upstairs during commercials to bake 4 dozen cherry chip cupcakes, in valentine paper liners, iced in pink, topped with red sprinkles. Ai yi yi.
    The things we do!
    Such a far stretch from the blueberry/bran/applesauce muffins I usually make but what are you going to do when your adorable 8-year-old says “PLEEEASE, can they be pink for my party?”

  5. Dana McCauley
    February 12, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I’m so proud of the great work you did with the Blog Aid fundraiser Julie. I hope you have some R&R time planned soon. I can imagine you need it!

  6. Roving Lemon
    February 12, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Your week sounds like my week–right down to the phlegm. Oh, except my daughter’s new preschool specified that any food for their party had to be store-bought. Huh? I couldn’t believe how disappointed I was by this pronouncement, and on how many levels. And congrats on BlogAid! What a great idea.

  7. Jessica
    February 12, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for the pink popcorn reminder. Just made some for the kids’ parties this afternoon; it’s yummy AND pretty!

  8. Colleen
    February 12, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Just bought my book. Great article in Swerve and you look beautiful in the picture.

  9. Donna
    February 12, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Ordered my books on Feb. 4th.
    They were shipped yesterday !(Feb. 11)
    I can hardly wait to see them.
    Are there any order options for after this fund raising campaign? I’ve got mine ordered– but for general info.
    Is it a limited run of about 2000 ? (WOW)

  10. Sam
    February 12, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    We aren’t allowed to send any food etc. to school because they have a focus on health and don’t want parents to try to sneak something by them (I would NEVER… ok I would) and because some parents prefer not to have food disrtibuted in school. I don’t know who these mythical parents are, I’ve never met one. I want to know, are the cookbooks still going to be available at Co op? I will phone you on the Homestretch if I don’t see the answer here 🙂
    I’m getting one, one way or another!

  11. Laurie in Burnaby BC
    February 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I was planning to order several of the books. Is there any way to order them after today? I can’t afford all of the ones I want to have all at once.

  12. JulieVR
    February 12, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    I still have the book on file – email me and we’ll make it happen!

  13. Erica B.
    February 12, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    I just checked fedex & according to them my books are on a truck in Calgary woohoo! 🙂

  14. Bev
    February 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I’m a procrastinator and am trying to order now but it doesn’t seem to be working.

  15. Erica B.
    February 12, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Correction – they’re here! Julie the book is beautiful, can’t wait to start cooking!

  16. Barb
    February 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I can harldy wait for mine to arrive.!

  17. Nicole
    February 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Oh no. I wanted to order a book but (as usual) procrastinated and didn’t do it and now the book is gone! Are they for sale anywhere in Calgary?

  18. jenn in niagara
    February 12, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    oh sugar, i too am a procrastinator, and didnt order any books. will there be any for sale at your co-op stores? i have a sister in calgary whom i sure will want one and could easily pick me up one too…
    just got caught up in your posts, the article was amazing, i felt like you were talking right to me when i read it. very good job.

  19. jen in seattle
    February 12, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    ughh! i am so sad. i had your cookbook in my shopping cart early today and then got tied up and went back to it late in the day and the book was no longer available. i have family in calgary – can you tell me if there are any for sale “off the rack” there? or are there any options to still get the book? i did order one as a gift for my step-sister though!

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