Popcorn comes to Mostafapur
2 May 2012
Often we read stories of foreign guests encountering unusual local foods; but this story is about how a local family in South Asia encounters the unusual noise and flavor of popcorn:
I had announced that I had brought a special snack from America that I was going to cook for our friends. All have been waiting expectantly since the announcement. So here I am at dusk, outside in the courtyard, preparing to cook in the chula (a clay cooking stove, fueled by wood). I first started out squatting on a pat (reed mat), but one of the women could tell that I was in semi-discomfort, so she graciously brought out a mora (stool).
We had a big korai (frying pan like a wok) with a stainless steel bowl for a lid. I added the popcorn and soy bean oil and put it on the chula. This is when the fun started. The oil started to sizzle and immediately all of the watching women insisted that I needed to take off the cover and stir the popcorn so it would not burn. I tried to explain that the oil had to get really hot so the popcorn would heat up and explode, but no one either understood or believed me as they really had no idea of what the end product was supposed to be.
It actually did take the oil longer to heat up than I thought it would — it was sizzling really loudly — and there was no popping for quite awhile, so I was secretly preparing myself for a colossal mess. But I stuck to my plan, refusing to take anyone's advice and open the lid. I was relieved when the popping finally began. The exploding kernels made a really loud racket against the metal lid. This was very entertaining to all.
When the popping was mostly stopped, I took the korai off the chula and slowly opened the lid — it was full of beautiful white popcorn! No burning had occurred, and there was plenty to share with neighbors. Everyone watching was thrilled and amazed.
Catch a glimpse of what church looks like for new believers in South Asia: Church in Mostafapur