Taste: Tops of the Pops

New flavor combinations make the plainest of snacks ready for a star turn.


The movie theater staple is — forgive us — popping up all over the place, but its pop-culture co-star, butter, has been retired. At Dale and Thomas Popcorn in Liberty Place, popcorn is dressed sweetly in caramel and pecans; at the bar at Snackbar, it takes a savory turn, coated in zaatar and truffle oil. At home, forgo the old Orville Redenbacher for colorful Lancaster County kernels that pop into a mild, toothsome snack (available at Kauffman's in the Reading Terminal Market) or oversized White Cat Corn (available at Whole Foods Market), with its airy texture and hint of corn flavor. For toppings, anything goes, from olive oil and sea salt to grated parmesan and ground pepper to lemon and orange juices — these last two, ingredients that appeared in the first known popcorn recipe, published in an 1853 Philadelphia cookbook.

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