Tuesday, March 1, 2011

West Bend Stir Crazy Popcorn Popper


UPDATE RE: RATING as of Nov. 15:

After using this popper for a longer period of time, I am now downgrading my rating for a few reasons. 

It started scorching popcorn and left too many not popped. 

The stir-wand started to scratch the surface of the popper, when going around. 

And worst of all, it started to give off a WEIRD, chemical smell (LIKE RAID bug spray!!!) at times when it was heated up. Must be something in the plastic composition for this product. Not something I want in contact with food I'm going to eat. 

It is on it's way to the recycling center now. :-(

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I LOVE popcorn!

It's probably my favorite all-time snack, especially fresh and made at home.

 I've tried several types of popcorn poppers over the years. Sometimes, I've just reverted back to the basics: stove-top and a big pot. Just recently though, decided to give another commercial popper a try after receiving a Home Hardware gift card as a gift.

The West Bend Stir-Crazy Popcorn Popper came highly recommended.

It has a rather unique design (we think it looks like a small flying saucer!!) but still takes up a minimal amount of counter space.

It's fairly easy to use although I've made some slight modifications to avoid burning any corn kernels. By heating up the vegetable oil on the cooking surface for a minute BEFORE adding the popcorn kernels, I've been turning out lighter, fluffier popcorn. The instructions state that you should put the oil and popcorn on the cooking surface at the same time. I found that this resulted in soggy popcorn.

Also, when the popcorn is starting to slow down at the end of the popping process (which is very quick) I unplug the popper and allow the last few kernels to pop, without the unit being plugged in. There's enough heat to finish off the popping and this helps to avoid any burnt popcorn. Again, this was a problem with the first try.

One thing I think is poorly designed on this appliance is the butter-melt feature. The clear dome/serving bowl has holes around the top, some for steam to escape and some to place butter on to melt down into the popcorn as it finishes popping. These holes are flat, no slant inward and they tend to trap the butter or margarine along the top edge. I usually push the butter through with the end of a spoon but it's rather messy. Not the best in design ideas here.

The key with this unit is to have everything ready before you start: popcorn, oil,butter...and then place the oil on the cooking surface and plug in and heat up BRIEFLY just before adding the popcorn and the dome lid. It goes very quickly and as with any appliance, caution is required. I wouldn't recommend allowing small children to use this unit unattended,that goes without saying, doesn't it?

This is a much quieter popper than some of the poppers I've used previously and it is quick and relatively easy to operate. Reasonably priced too, especially over at Amazon


Updated rating (as of Nov. 15): Unsatisfactory. 1 out of 5.

Previous (initial) rating: 3 out of 5. 

5 comments:

  1. The popcorn tastes good but the butter melting through the holes in the top of the dome doesn't work properly. Rather messy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. real good work going on here geraldine !

    ( toothpastes remind me to be wary of smoking and prevent damage to the teeth , .. i have long since quit smoking though , but not before the mystery of smoke had taken its toll on me ! )

    ur listed interests -- walking and running and live theater inspire me and kind of summarize the larger philosophy of life itself

    good wishes ..

    ReplyDelete
  3. ps: the ref to toohpastes is from ur other post .. and popcorn & cigarette smoking & dental care is the broader picture ! u guessed it - i like to be oblique ..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Joe, I agree. Good popcorn in spite of the design flaw though.

    Hi Zoya, Good to see you again. Hooray on the quitting cigarettes, wonderful! And yes, even teeth are so badly affected by these cancer-sticks.

    I'm glad you enjoyed stopping in.

    BFN, G

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've been wondering why no one ever mentioned that the popcorn made in the Stir Crazy is, as you say, "soggy" - I figured I had just thrown away forty dollars, because I could not enjoy it that way. The reviews on Amazon said that folks love this machine. Not me. I'm now going to try what you suggested above, and see if that fixes the problem. I'll be so glad if it does, as I love popcorn. Thanks a bunch!

    ReplyDelete

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