By Dixie Burmeister –
As Christmas approaches, so do the memories, so much so, that when I am getting out the decorations and have Alexa play holiday music, or turn on the Hallmark Christmas movies, I find myself, lost in wonderful memories of Christmases past, and what wonderful memories they are. About the time I am staring at the room filled with unpacked boxes of decorations and feeling a bit overwhelmed, husband, Fred, often comes in from outside decorating, to ask his expected question, am I going to fill our old punch bowl, full of popcorn balls again this year. Yes, I said, fill the punch bowl with popcorn balls, never cared much for punch, but we sure love those popcorn balls, that are part of a favorite Christmas memory to share, whenever anyone has one and asks for the recipe. By the way, the punch bowl is probably now an antique, it was a wedding shower gift when we got married! Back to the story
That means back to the early days after our move to Grand Junction from the Midwest. After living here a few months, we bought our first house and were getting settled in, when we noticed a family moving into the house next door, from out of state. Before we knew it, we became good friends, albeit their children were older than our early elementary grade children. Robert and Connie (pseudo names), were so interesting, having moved around the country with Robert’s job, that even took him out of the country sometimes. Connie was very attractive, graceful, fun, smart, kind and she amazed me. You see, she had lost her left arm below the elbow due to an aneurysm, when her children were little. But that never stopped her, she did everything and did it well. I was mesmerized by her ability to handle just about anything she needed to do. Her husband, an engineer, helped her with the simple, but clever tools, they created. She seldom asked for any help, until Christmas; would I help her with the popcorn balls?
Off I went to help her form the popcorn mixture into balls. They were delicious, easy to make and didn’t have to be handled immediately with boiling hot syrup mixture. That my friends, is how I got our favorite and easiest to make, popcorn ball recipe, one that we have used for years and years, and now, I am pleased to share with you. And yes, popcorn is considered a food group in our family.
A side note: Robert and Connie soon moved on to their next adventure. After a few years, we lost contact, but every year during the holidays, we think of them, as we fill the old punch bowl with what else? Popcorn balls. Merry Christmas!
Our Friends, Holiday Popcorn Balls
1 cup Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vinegar (yes, I said vinegar)
Dash of butter
1/4th tsp soda,
Food coloring – optional
10 to 12 cups popped corn
Mix Karo Syrup, sugar, vinegar and butter in heavy saucepan, heat, continue stirring until mixture starts to boil, boil for 3 minutes, remove from heat and add the 1/4 th tsp baking soda, and a few drops of food coloring if you want. Pour mixture over popcorn and using a couple large serving spoons sprayed with vegetable cooking spray, toss the mixture until the popcorn is covered with syrup. You can take your time, when popcorn is well mixed with syrup, butter hands, to keep it from sticking to your hands. form popcorn into balls – let cool completely. Note: we prefer no coloring added, we wrap the balls, with clear food plastic wrap and tied with a red ribbon. Fill bowl or container of your choice – we set ours by our fireplace – lucky our little Abby (four- legged daughter) doesn’t bother things like that and it looks quite festive!
By the time this comes out, the Gingerbread Contest and Showcase, Sponsored by Timberline Bank, committee members will be scurrying around preparing for the Olde Fashioned Christmas presented by Hummel Real Estate, which is this Friday and Saturday, December 6th and 7th. I mention this as you still have time to enter the contest, come to the showcase and to bring the kids for the gingerbread house cookie decorating, as well as taking in all the wonderful activities of the whole Olde Fashioned Christmas.