Most people love popcorn. There's just something about it, whether it's the usual butter and salted flavor, or you go the extra steps to make a fancier flavoring. It's good, it can be healthy if prepared right, and it's easy to make.
But the classic way to make popcorn is on the stove, not with an air pop popcorn maker. There's just something to the flavor of popcorn made on the stove. If you've forgotten the difference, it may be time for you to take a whirl with a stovetop popcorn popper. Don't event think of comparing it to microwave popcorn. There just isn't any comparison, especially when it comes to healthy flavorings.
They can sound like a lot of work. Certainly it's a bit more effort than an air popper, but it's really not that hard. Kids old enough to cook can deal with it, and they probably won't even burn the popcorn. It's all about keeping things moving.
A good stovetop popper makes this easy with a crank in the handle. You turn the crank regularly, and it keeps the popcorn moving. That means it won't burn from sitting in one place for too long.
The great part about such poppers, such as the Whirley-Pop, is that they often come with recipe books. You may have enjoyed traditional buttered and salted popcorn your entire life, but once you know how to make other flavors, that may not be good enough anymore. You can even learn to make your own caramel corn.
The basic routine is always the same. Heat some oil (see instructions for how much) in your popper. Add your popcorn and any flavorings that can be cooked along with it. Cover and crank the handle about every 20-30 seconds until the popcorn is done. Pour into a bowl, add any remaining toppings, and enjoy.
Salt and butter are typically added after popping, not during. Some other flavors may also be added after popping. That's where the recipe books come in handy, so that you know when to add flavors for the best results.
Honestly, this doesn't take long at all. You may think of your microwave as a fast way to make popcorn, but this takes about the same amount of time, yet gives you more options for flavors at a lower cost per serving. If you compare the price of a bag of popcorn versus the cost of microwave popcorn, you'll see that you have a lot of room in there to add in interesting flavors and still have it cheaper to make yourself.