One of the nation's premier film fests -- the Seattle International Film Festival, aka SIFF -- runs for nearly a month, showing more than 400 movies from 80 countries over 25 days. For the past three years, there's been a special program geared toward foodies, a lineup called Culinary Cinema. (See highlights below.) While devouring this thought-provoking series of movies like Food Evolution, I've been binging on SIFF's popcorn. What's extra cool about SIFF? If you're a member, you get free popcorn! And, it's really good popcorn. So good, in fact, it triggered a quest to try and recreate that memorable popcorn at home. Little did I realize that this delicious mission would blow my mind about popcorn's possibilities.
Good, Old-Fashioned Popcorn
The salty, butter-like crunch of those popped kernels sparks some deeply nostalgic feelings for me. I spent my childhood summers practically living at the Seaview Theater on Orcas Island, owned by my stepdad and late mother. My brother, sister and I were part of the labor force, tearing tickets, stocking (and occasionally swiping) candy bars, popping popcorn. The latter was always my favorite movie watching snack, despite it often getting stuck in between my teeth. For that classic version, I added these top-rated gems to my must-try popcorn collection on my Allrecipes profile:
I'm not really sure why, but, in recent years, I'd drifted away from eating popcorn. Maybe it was the fascination with frozen Junior Mints. (Try it!) So, when I started to explore popcorn preparations on Allrecipes, I was thrilled to find a world of fun flavors. Hello, Pad Thai Popcorn! And bacon, as well as truffle, all highly rated, all as varied as the movies selected for this year's SIFF. Here's that superstar list:
- Pad Thai Popcorn
- Homemade Chili Seasoning Popcorn
- Sriracha-Lime Popcorn
- Curried Popcorn
- Popcorn Nachos
- Bacon Popcorn
- Truffle Lover's Popcorn
Culinary Cinema Highlights
Even if you don't attend SIFF, there's still a pretty good chance you can watch one or more of these excellent movies. After showing on the Big Screen, many are available on various streaming services. Those fabulous documentaries I watched at last year's SIFF are on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. (I partnered them up with suggested meal ideas!) In 2017, my mouth's watering to see:
- Food Evolution tackles the controversial issue of GMOs in agriculture on a global scale. It takes a critical look at both sides, with the discussion often getting heated. The big surprise is that the discussion might persuade you to change your mind.
- Lives With Flavor showcases cook and restaurateur Ricardo Muñoz Zurita's feverish mission to create the perfect dining experience at his eateries in Mexico City. Devoted diners will be floored at the level of attention that goes into the making of a memorable meal.
- Fermented foods are so very hot right now, those good-for-the-gut probiotics stirring up a massive demand for kombucha, kvass, kim chi, pickles and cured meats. It's a pleasure to follow chef Edward Lee around the world while he searches for the origins of this ancient practice with a look toward where this now-trendy practice is heading in a doc called Fermented.
- New Chefs on the Block follows the often arduous journey of a couple of young culinary pros as they get ready to open new places in the nation's capital. Viewers might wonder "why do they put themselves through all this?", but they're also likely to be inspired to try and make a hard-to-get rezzie the next time they're in D.C.
- The Trip to Spain is the best kind of sequel, part three in a series that's chronicled a couple actors -- Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, pictured below -- roaming around the best food countries on the map. Plan to head to dinner directly after this road trip flick because watching this love letter to paella, gazpacho and red wine, because it's guaranteed to stir hunger pangs.
- Kakehashi: A Portrait of Chef Nobuo Fukuda is a beautiful bio-pic that celebrates the life and moving food memories of a seasoned cook and owner of beloved restaurants in Arizona, who got his start at the Benihana chain. Take away: No matter how famous, you can always learn something new when it comes to food.