At some point in the last few months I bought Jiffy Pop. I don't exactly remember where or why-- surely it was an impulse purchase. I have fond memories of Jiffy Pop, from cooking it over a campfire (N.B.: As the package warns, this does not work well) while camping in Vermont on my 18th birthday to making it with my dad while my brother and mother watched a lunar eclipse outside at the CT seashore when I was very young. Plus, Jiffy Pop is fun. So this past Saturday, with AV and me nearly dying from exhaustion, what better thing to do than make Jiffy Pop?
And make it we did. Or shall I say, I took the helm, dutifully swirling the package over the flames for five minutes as the kernels sizzled. At long last, it puffed up satisfyingly into that great biodome shape filled with kernels. I took it off the heat before it burned, and we chowed down on the perfectly-cooked popcorn. We ate the whole thing. It was a whole lot of popcorn. It was also almost painfully salty. Mmmmm, Jiffy Pop.
At the end, there remained a small handful of unpopped kernels. AV speculated that although my popping job was admirable, I likely had around an 8% kernel failure rate. Ever one to defend myself unnecessarily, I asserted that my pop rate was undoubtedly better than that. And so we placed a wager. We would purchase another Jiffy Pop, eviscerate it, and count the unpopped kernels. If 52 kernels is more than 8% of the total, AV will win a home-made delicious gourmet grilled cheese crafted by me. If 52 kernels is less than 8%, I will win a bouquet of two dozen roses purchased by AV. With our end-of-day mental math skills, we concluded that the magic number was 620 kernels (astute readers will recognize that this isn't actually correct). Done.
The next day, we purchased a new container at a local bodega. We ripped it open to reveal a disgusting mass of kernels in a congealed layer of fat. Note: If you ever want to consume and/or enjoy Jiffy Pop ever again, you should avert your eyes from the following pictures.
It quickly became clear that we'd have to wash the kernels to be able to count them. So we set about rinsing them off in a strainer, attempting to dissolve the disgusting solidified fat. Eeeeew. This was one of the grosser things I've ever witnessed.
But we persevered. And then AV began to count, fifty kernels at a time. We neared the 600s, and it looked as though I would win. And then it looked as though AV would win. And then back to me. And finally we were down to a few kernels-- he counted them slowly, and as the last kernel dropped into the bag, we had a final tally: 618. Based on our calculations, I had lost by TWO KERNELS.
A denoument: With the use of an actual calculator, that magical tool, I have determined that 52 is 8% of 650, not 620. So AV won by 32, not 2. Which actually makes me feel a bit better about the fact that on Tuesday evening, I made him the best grilled cheese that ever graced God's green earth.
Suffice it to say I don't plan to eat Jiffy Pop again anytime soon.