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AV News Forum Topics: Microwave Popcorn Shootout 2000 Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 December 2007

title: Microwave Popcorn Shootout 2000
category: Feature Article
review date: July 2000
reviewed by: Bryan Dailey

You went to’s DVD reviews and picked out a movie that sounded interesting. Now that you’ve decided on the movie that you will be watching for the evening, its time to make another important decision, that can either make or break the evening. What microwave popcorn will you be enjoying with tonight’s flick? We here at took it upon ourselves to spare no expense and hit all of the Beverly Hills grocery stores to purchase virtually every brand and type of microwave popcorn that we could get our buttery hands on.

We have narrowed our choices down to the Top Four best. I will also spare you from making a wrong turn by featuring the four types of popcorn that you will most want to avoid. The last thing you want is to have a great movie ruined by popcorn that feels like a lead brick in your stomach.

All of the popcorn was cooked in a GE turntable microwave on high for approximately three minutes. One of the mistakes that people often make is cooking the popcorn too long, so that you end up with burnt kernels. Three minutes is a safe amount of time if you don’t want to hassle with sitting by the microwave listening to the kernels popping in an attempt to guess when all of the kernels are popped. It’s better to have a few un-popped kernels than to risk burning the popcorn.


#1 Betty Crocker's Pop Secret - Homestyle
Betty Crocker rules! Her popcorn takes the two top spots in the popcorn challenge. Pop Secret’s Homestyle wins the title for best microwave popcorn. It is very crispy and has an excellent real butter taste. The combination of salt and butter is second to none. Somehow, this popcorn is not extremely greasy. Any popcorn can taste good if you put enough salt and butter on it, but popcorn that gives you a sufficient salt and butter kick without being excessively greasy is a winner in our book. One of the tests that we performed in out taste test was the 30-minute test. We would test the popcorn right out of the microwave, and then we would taste it after it had been sitting for 30 minutes. Pop Secret’s Homestyle blew away the competition in the category. This popcorn is almost better after sitting for 30 minutes than it is when it’s fresh. I don’t recommend letting it sit out all night, but you can be confident that you are going to have great popcorn from the first bite to the last.

In one of our test batches, there were a few kernels that were overcooked. Amazingly, even the burned pieces of popcorn tasted good. It was so difficult to find any faults in this popcorn that we crown Pop Secret Homestyle the #1 microwave popcorn for 2000.

#2 Betty Crocker's Pop Secret - Movie Theater Butter
Although not as good as actual movie theater popcorn, Betty Crocker’s Pop Secret Premium Popcorn with Movie Theater Butter is a very good simulation. Betty scores points from us from the start by providing very simple and easy to follow instructions.
This popcorn has an addictive quality that you must know about going into the evening. If you go with this popcorn, know that you’ll probably be stopping the movie that you are watching to make another batch. It leaves a slight aftertaste, and the best way to avoid this problem is by eating more and more of it. As this popcorn cools down, it actually gets better and becomes crunchier, which makes it a great choice for a three-hour movie. As long as you pace it properly and have a soda or two to offset the slight aftertaste from the butter flavor, this one is a great choice.

#3 Jolly Time - White & Buttery
This is popcorn that you can’t go wrong with. It features a good housekeeping warranty on the back of the bag, just in case you get a bad batch. This is a well-rounded popcorn with a good salt/butter mix. There were very few unpopped kernels and the bag was very easy to open. Having a bag that opens easily is a key element, because if the bag is difficult to open, you risk spilling the popcorn on the floor or, even worse, spraying scalding hot butter on yourself or your date for the evening. Jolly Time’s White & Buttery is quite light and fluffy, not as greasy as one would expect. The only thing that kept this popcorn from ranking higher was the fact that it was a tad soggy. If it had been a little crispier, Jolly Time White & Buttery could have been a contender for the #1 spot on our list.

#4 Orville Redenbacher -Reden Budders Movie Theater Butter
Although slightly squishy right out of the microwave, this offering from Mr. Redenbacher made it to the top for a few reasons, the main one being quantity. Of all of the brands of popcorn that we tested, this one by far had the most total kernels. This, combined with the fact that it’s pretty good-tasting, too, made our decision to put in into our Top Four an easy one. It is by no means the best- tasting popcorn and the artificially flavored butter has a hint of an oily aftertaste, but the fact that you get so much popcorn in each bag goes along way.


#4 - Weight Watchers
I know it may seem unfair to knock a diet popcorn since it has no butter or salt, but I must warn you that this popcorn is so bland and tasteless that you would be better off just eating rice cakes instead. The words popcorn and diet should never cross. The box claims that this popcorn has dietary fiber, but I can tell you that you might need to re-think things if you are going to eat diet popcorn just for its fiber.

The one thing that this popcorn does have going for it is the fact that you can save it by putting your own butter and salt on it. If you have made the tragic mistake of picking up a box of this popcorn, take the extra effort and melt some butter to put on it and add a little extra salt. This will make the popcorn edible but you can keep the total fat content much lower than regular microwave popcorn.

#3 - Ralph’s - Butter Flavor Microwave Popcorn
I had high hopes for this store brand popcorn. Ralph’s is the largest chain of grocery stores in Los Angeles and I was hoping that perhaps this popcorn would actually be repackaged Pop Secret or some other name brand popcorn. This is not the case. This bland popcorn loses points because the pieces are very small, and it did not cook evenly. The popcorn is very greasy but did not taste buttery, which seems like a contradiction. After pouring some of this popcorn on a napkin, the amount of grease that was left behind shocked and amazed us. Add to this flaw the fact this popcorn is saltier than the Pacific Ocean, and what you have is popcorn that you want to avoid. With this in mind, I think it’s safe to say that you would want to avoid all forms of generic grocery store popcorn.

#2 Act II - 2000 Extreme Butter
This popcorn should come with a heart surgeon in every box. The prospect of eating the greasiest, most fattening popcorn on the planet seemed like fun at first. Once the popcorn was in front of me, soaked and glistening with butter, I began to realize that this was going to be an all-time gut-bomb. There is so much butter in every bag that the Act II 2000 box was almost twice as heavy as all of the other boxes of popcorn. You could buy two boxes of this popcorn and used them as dumbbells to work off all of the calories that you’ll surely pack on after eating this brand. I used to feel that the more butter that popcorn has on it, the better it will be, but there comes a point when too much is a bad thing. After eating a quarter of a bag of this popcorn, I felt so tired and stuffed with grease that I could hardly move. Popcorn should not put you into a coma. It is so hard to make it through a bag of this popcorn that the two other packages in the box remain unpopped. None of us at the office have been brave enough to try another batch.

#1 Act II – Corn on the Cob
Yikes, this is the popcorn that caused people who were in the kitchen after it was finished popping to ask "What died in here?" Act II’s attempt at making popcorn that tastes like regular corn has failed miserably. When we first tasted this popcorn, it seemed like normal, run-of-the-mill butter-soaked popcorn. Then after a few bites, the strangest, most artificial aftertaste kicks in and the desire to eat popcorn goes away. In approximately five minutes after popping, this popcorn seemed to age rapidly and it tasted almost stale, as if it had been sitting out for a few hours.

Not only does the popcorn leave an unpleasant aftertaste, but it also leaves undesirable yellow stains on your hands from the artificial coloring. The yellow dye in the popcorn stained my fingers yellow for two days. Even after scrubbing with high-performance Lava soap, I still had yellow fingers. I think this yellow substance would make better hair dye than coloring for popcorn. I can’t urge you any more strongly to avoid this popcorn at all costs. It’s just that bad.

comments: email

Associated Equipment Used in This Review
Bryan Dailey
RBH WM-24 (2)
• RBH MC-414
RBH MC-615-70
• RBH A-615-70
• Anthony Gallo Acoustics A'Diva (3)
Revel B12 Subwoofer
dvd player:
Integra DPS-10.5
JVC HD61FN97 61-inch HD-ILA 1080p HDTV
• Dish Network VIP 622 HD-DVR
Sony Playstation 3 (Blu-ray player)
Microsoft XBox 360 w HD DVD Drive
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player
Dell W1900 19-inch HDTV
• Sony SLV-N750 VHS VCR
Integra DTR-10.5
a/v preamp:
Anthem AVM30
amplifier: Anthem Statement A5
• Accell, Monster, XLO/Ultralink
• PureLink HS-42A 4-in 2-out HDMI Switching System
gaming systems:
Microsoft XBox 360 w HD DVD Drive
Sony Playstation 3
• Nintendo Wii

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