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. :-(
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.