Tuesday, April 05, 2011

5 APR 11: Butter Me Not

It's time again to see how old-fashioned I am. Am I the only person in Columbus who still has an "air popper" for popcorn? One which lets you melt butter on the cap, while the kernels heat at the base with no oil? I didn't say I still use one -- I simply have one, in case the microwave shuts down.

We're talking about popcorn today -- and it's all because the reader who gave us last week's earth-shaking news tip offered us one more....


Glad you took the tip on Kurt Schmitz and made something of it.

Just a few notes...

I emailed Derek Kinkade (the same night as I did you) asking what had happened to old Kurt, and mentioning the ancient practice of cartouche-chisling. He (now, not surprisingly) has not yet responded, lol!

I am pleased that you got all that traffic from the story but... you should probably be glad that Sin City is gone because it may have beaten you to this! (Hat tip to that blog of yesteryear!)

Here's one more to chase down if you take the notion...

Severe rumor has it that Carmike Cinemas has discontinued serving real buttered popcorn in a number of their theaters (notably: Auburn, AL) and that has led to a number of angry complaints that are being routed away from public view.


M. Krebbles


We'll get to those references at the top -- but when someone invites me to have a big "scoop" of popcorn, I simply cannot resist.

If you think Carmike Cinemas recently made a big adjustment in its popcorn.... sorry, but I'm going to disappoint you. An executive with the theater chain told me Monday the recipe has NOT changed. In fact, it hasn't changed in decades. Where can moviegoers find a good taste bud specialist these days?

"We have not changed our formula in 20-plus years," Carmine Cinemas General Manager Greg Krannicker told me. He's also the Vice President of Operations - so this is a little like issuing a denial in stereophonic sound.

"We're using the same topping that we've always used," Greg Krannicker assured me. And to borrow from an old TV commercial: if you think it's butter.... but it's NOT. The special effects stretch beyond the screening rooms to the concession stands.

"We have never in the history of the company used real butter," Greg Krannicker admitted. Yet visitors to Carmike Cinemas can choose popcorn with "extra butter" on it. Let's face it -- asking for a bucket with extra margarine simply doesn't sound the same.

So why doesn't the "extra butter" on the popcorn contain any butter? Greg Krannicker explained it "has a terrible shelf life." If it sits too long, there's a "nasty effect" on the taste. And we certainly don't want any nastiness spreading from those R-rated films.

Greg Krannicker didn't reveal the entire recipe for the Carmike popcorn topping - but he said the chain uses canola oil, which is lower in fat than other options. You drive to the movies to get away from concerns about "big oil," and it's still lurking in the food.

I went to my pantry and checked two boxes of microwave popcorn for a comparison. Publix "Light Butter" is similar to Carmike Cinemas, containing canola oil. Kroger's "Butter" flavored bags actually have "partially hydrogenated soybean oil." Talk about wimpy - either go all the way with your hydrogen, or don't go at all.

A registered dietitian recently did her own analysis of Carmike Cinemas' popcorn, and concluded a small bag has 27 grams of total fat. While most of that fat is unsaturated, a small bag of air-popped corn has about 90 percent less fat. But of course, you'd look a lot fatter smuggling it into the theater under your jacket.

So do we have another big blog exclusive here? Welllll - a little bit. Carmike Cinemas admits its popcorn has NO real butter in it. But then again, it never has. So this is a little like revealing new details about the years when Frank Martin was Columbus Mayor.

Back at the top of the e-mail: WTVM's Derek Kinkade hasn't responded to my recent message, either. He's been busy, of course - doing weather reports six nights a week, and staying late Monday night watching for severe storms. It's one thing to allegedly plot a coup, but another thing to rule after that.

Lee County once had a blog called the "Sin City Inquisition and Bar-B-Q." It had an impact in the Columbus area for a while, but it disappeared a couple of years ago without explanation. Phenix City has its own inquisitor these days, of course -- and Jimmy Wetzel could have new accusations to offer at today's Phenix City Council meeting.

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. Visit "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: Now from inquisition to "Inquirers." Another reader thought the newspaper made a big mistake Monday, and sent a message to us with the news. But this follow-up came later in the day....

Richard..Earlier today I sent you an e-mail that the Ledger Enquirer had the word Enquirer spelled as Inquirer...I now admit my mistake...That is the name given the article that investigates problems in the city..Look on front pg. of section B..A cool play on words...

So this is NOT a typographical error -- and I'm not sure many readers would think there's much of a difference, anyway. WTVM's spelling error Monday night was different. It showed on the screen a proposal for "tool booths" in Alabama. Lowe's and The Home Depot ought to introduce those at the upcoming NASCAR race in Talladega.

It's also not a mistake on the order of what The Columbus Times did two years ago -- when it somehow left the word "Times" out of its front-page masthead [17 Jul 09]. If Wane Hailes of The Courier stole it as a prank publicity stunt, I don't think it worked....

But this new Monday feature in the newspaper raises a question - why was it called an Enquirer in the first place, and not an Inquirer? The words practically have the same usage and meaning. Maybe the editors had trouble spelling 100 years ago, too.

Thanks to everyone who writes us. Now for some more quick write.... oops, not quick enough; we lost power from severe storms or more than two hours:

+ A Columbus Police officer was placed on administrative leave, after being arrested over the weekend. Authorities say Joel Reed slapped his 20-year-old daughter twice across the face, after a car crash near Lakebottom Park. That Coke Zero "blidd taste test" commercial during the basketball tournament obviously is to blame for this....

+ Muscogee County Republican Chair Seth Harp told WXTX President Obama could be announcing re-election plans early because he'll have opposition from within the Democratic Party. Really now - I think Hillary Rodham Clinton has made more trips lately to Iraq than to Iowa.

+ Aflac held a duck voice "casting call" in Atlanta. Candidates were asked to portray the duck with a variety of emotions. Let's hear the reaction after Gilbert Gottfried files a wrongful termination lawsuit.

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