After my triumphant return to the land of the healthy, and following a few days of rest, Trent and I went out for a brief Christmas shopping trip. After we slowly went about looking for a few things we wanted to pick up, Trent asked where we were headed next. I answered, "Well, we're really close to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I'd love to see if they have any of my favorite popcorn popper left in stock." Within very short order, I had found what I consider the ultimate in low-tech popcorn poppers, a Whirley Pop. Go ahead, look it up online, I'll wait. A Whirley Pop is a hand-cranked stovetop popcorn popper. In the same time that it takes to make chemical-laden microwave popcorn, this popper produces a massive quantity of beautiful, fluffy kernels. It makes the popcorn in the same way as those gorgeous, gigantic machines at the movie theater, and I love it.
I got my first WP some twenty-five years ago. (If you haven't figured it out yet, popcorn is one of my favorite food groups.) It got a lot of use and was well-loved. Any time I learned that someone shared my near-obsessive love of popcorn, I would tell them about the beloved Whirley Pop. Getting a specialized cooking vessel makes no sense if you will rarely use it. That's why, for example, we don't own a waffle iron. Waffles are delicious, and I like them a great deal. But I don't eat them often enough to have the need for a waffle iron. It makes more sense for them to be a special treat, made by professionals, and eaten in restaurants. And, of course, the delicious topping of fruit and whipped cream makes it even more special. But if you could gladly eat a certain food, say popcorn, on a daily basis, why not treat yourself to a cooking vessel that will do it justice?
This is why I told my coworker and fellow popcorn lover, Mary, about the WP. I had told several people about them before, but she surprised me by telling me that she bought one within a day or two of hearing about it from me. It was a match made in heaven. She gushed on about how much she loved the popcorn made in this King of poppers. And then she said something that I simply did not understand. "I call it the Feklar," she said. "Huh?" I had no idea what she was talking about. She went on to explain that Feklar (and please forgive my Klingon, but my name is not Sheldon and this is not The Big Bang Theory!) was something like Cerberus, a guardian to the gates of the afterlife. It was something from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It made more sense after her explanation, but I still didn't get it.
A couple of weeks later, I was channel surfing and happened upon the exact television episode Mary had been talking about. I watched as Worf told this character who was claiming to be something that she was not, "You are not Feklar!" And since she seemed to be a fairly powerful creature, but was still not Feklar, I figured that Feklar must be pretty impressive, indeed. Later, I turned on the stove and started to make a batch of popcorn. My Whirley Pop quickly produced a huge bowl of delicious, crunchy popcorn. It was powerful, indeed. I smiled and said, "You ARE Feklar!"
Since that time, I have lost two different Feklars in moves, and I can't eat popcorn as often as I would like to because I am diabetic and it doesn't do my blood sugar any favors. But I was still thrilled with our new popper. When we were on the way home from the store, I referred to the popper as my new Feklar. I spent part of the trip home explaining to Trent why it had such an unusual name. I don't know for sure what he thinks of the story, but I do know that he enjoyed the popcorn, and tried to make me laugh by acting like he was shoveling it into his mouth. Feklar will have a place of honor in the kitchen, and will create a lot of tasty bowls of popcorn. And from time to time, I will follow tradition and tell her, "You are Feklar!"