A kernel of wisdom on alternatives to popcorn

  • Dave Heun laments that he can no longer eat popcorn, which for some reason now disagrees with him.

    Dave Heun laments that he can no longer eat popcorn, which for some reason now disagrees with him. Courtesy of Dave Heun

  • Freshly popped popcorn is a delight for some, a surefire case of indigestion for others.

      Freshly popped popcorn is a delight for some, a surefire case of indigestion for others. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Posted11/1/2018 10:52 AM

Even after four decades of writing columns for various publications on various topics, it is difficult to develop a sixth sense for what types of comments or topics would garner the most reader reaction or feedback.

In writing this "Talk of the Town" column for the Daily Herald for 15 years now, you would think readers would mostly respond to items about things happening within their hometowns. And they do.


But they also relate to comments about everyday life and family or health issues. You could say that qualifies as something people talk about in their towns -- and it's been quite rewarding that the Herald generally lets me comment about anything under the sun.

I bring this up because numerous readers sent along comments and ideas after reading my note about how popcorn has suddenly turned on me, and my stomach can no longer tolerate one of my favorite snacks.

Such a development struck a nerve with many, as apparently the same woe afflicts them or somebody they know. One would never suspect that this is a fairly universal problem, especially after spending time in a movie theater and watching people eat the stuff out of huge buckets.

Debbie Torres, the manager at Olive Mill in Geneva, even informed me that some people with diverticulitis (and I'm not sure if that's my problem, though I suspect it might be) are able to eat "hull-less popcorn."

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That means the part that is hard to digest is left out of this particular popcorn. She said she has it in her store, and I should check it out sometime. I am sure I will.

Kernel's Gourmet Popcorn in downtown Geneva, a place I consider one of the best popcorn shops on the planet, is about to start testing hull-less popcorn to see how it pops in the store's poppers.

But owner Cathy Villwock also informs me the shop's caramel and cheese popcorn is air-popped, meaning it reduces the hulls of the kernels.

With this kind of mounting evidence, I'm beginning to believe the hulls of popcorn need to hire a defense attorney. They sure come up often as the culprit in these conversations.

In the meantime, reader Diane Thornton also says she discovered her similar woes are satisfactorily diminished when she eats only "pan-popped kernels in plain oil with just a bit of plain salt."


She operates on the premise of keeping it as natural as possible and limiting the amount she eats.

This is all good advice -- and all good reminders that many topics can spark "talk" in the big cities. The best part, though? I may be able to figure out a way to continue enjoying this great snack.

Mild winter blues:

The early forecasts are calling for a mild and dry winter. We've had a few of those over the years and they tend to give one a jolt of joy.

But let's remember what happens when we have a mild winter. The bug population will be huge next spring and summer, as will the dreaded skunk population.

We can't seem to get a break, can we?

Kudos for Andersons:

I just saw Tom and Cris Anderson at TriCity Family Service's annual Barth Award dinner last week, as Cris was a past winner and they always support the agency.

So now I hear that the Andersons, most well known in the area as the family that has owned and operated the Colonial Café restaurants and ice cream business for more than 100 years, are in line for another honor.

They'll get the Golden Turtle Award for a lifetime of contributions and achievements for their work with the River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles.

Part of this honor stems from their donation of the Wind Emotion sculpture on the west side of the Fox River, but they've done so many other things to assure the city takes care of its portion of the river and how the city interacts with it.

The foundation will present the award at noon Tuesday during the St. Charles Kiwanis meeting at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles.

Speaking of Colonial:

A few weeks ago I sang the praises of the fish tacos at Colonial Cafe after John Arthur Anderson encouraged me for months to try them.

In doing so, I also noted that John Arthur didn't work for Colonial like the rest of his family. But since he retired from his previous job, he tells me his brother, Tom Anderson, talked him into coming to work to do what he does best -- say good things about Colonial.

And that's what he is now doing. Officially, his title is Community Ambassador for Colonial Café and Ice Cream.

Seems to me, the right person got hired for that job.

Library on schedule:

In recently noting that construction appears to be moving along nicely on the new Geneva library building off Seventh Street, library officials now inform me that the timetable remains on schedule for the project to be completed by November of 2019.

It's probably also worth reminding Geneva residents at this time that the city had first shot at buying the current site at 127 James St. when the library moves to its new digs.

But the city has opted not to do that.

It means the library will put the current site up for sale at some point, though when hasn't been determined. There's time for that, considering the new building won't be ready for a year.


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