1991 Porbander, Gujarat, India
The walls of the cinema hall were stained deep red with pan (stuffed betel leafs that apparently freshen then breath) spittle. Gross. I sat there wondering why they seemed to find joy in squirting from the mouth and how they got away with it. Gobfuls of red juices we ejected casually onto the walls and remained there, forever.
I was feeling put off already and angrily bewildered as to why my dad held such fond memories of this cinema. He seemed so excited when he decided to cure my boredom by bringing me to the cinema of his youth. Maybe he used to blow those wolf whistles too as a teenager, like the ones ringing in my ears from behind me. How to escape?
Dad sensed my bubbling frustration…I was a pre teen with strong views and spitting was plain disgusting. Anyway, he took me to find treats…I spotted malt biscuits, melting chocolate, nuts and masala popcorn packed un generously into small food bags. Masala popcorn. No way! It tasted like every child’s favourite potato curry on popcorn. Winner. Smiles returned.
My brother and I were both away at university and when we visited my folks we would let the oldies go to bed whilst we watched channel four game shows or American comedies. We’d join in the judging whilst watching ‘your face or mine’ back to back for hours. Intermittently, we’d catch up on each others lives. Gorging at 2am was obviously necessary. Sometimes it would be indulgent spaghetti dishes, slathered with loads of cheese. Always, there would be popcorn, because my brother is somewhat fond of the stuff. To be honest, it seemed like he just needed to multi task; banter, telly, munch. For me, I needed variety in popcorn…I like a kick.
2007 Friday night, london
The exhilarating Friday feeling; the hair pins came off and hair was unleashed. My face was stripped of glasses and contact lenses came in. I never socialised in glasses, it was the rule. Trousers were swapped for skirts or dresses and the pumps flew into the hallway and the heels we finally on. I felt liberated.
Friday nights were about impromptu meet-ups in london, discovering new restaurants, lots of giggles and late nights. I’d return home surprisingly peckish. I couldn’t just go to sleep, I needed to unwind, catch up on the Bollywood soap masala action with popcorn in skirted lap, heel tucked under bum.
2013 Friday night London
Too tired to talk. Baby asleep after teething related moaning and much cajoling and cuddling. Exhausted. Time for a movie? No. Ok, tv and popcorn? Make it masala popcorn.
40g popped popcorn
A splash of oil
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander power
Salt to taste
1/4tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 Tsp black pepper
Chilli powder to taste
1. Melt the butter and add the oil
2. Stir in the spices and seasoning and stir for less than a minute. Don’t let them brown.
3. Stir in the popcorn and coat thoroughly in the sunny coloured mixture
Masala popcorn looks lovely in white containers or in paper cones.