Popcorn Pointers

Lean your ears this way for a few kernels of wisdom that will steer you toward perfect popcorn; 1 cup of unpopped kernels equals about 8 cups of popped popcorn.

To pop popcorn on the stove, use a 3- or 4-quart pan with a loose-fitting lid to allow the steam to escape. Add 1/3 cup vegetable oil for every cup of kernels.

Heat the oil to between 400° and 460° (if the oil smokes, it's too hot). Drop in one kernel, and when it pops, add the rest—just enough to cover the bottom of the pan with a single layer.

Cover the pan and shake to spread the oil. When the popping begins to slow, remove the pan from the heat. The hot oil will continue to pop the remaining kernels.

Don't pre-salt the kernels— this toughens the popcorn. If desired, salt the corn after it's popped.

Don't pre-salt the kernels-this toughens the popcorn. If desired, salt the corn after it's popped.