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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why "Popcorn and M&Ms"?

I was in a hurry to get this blog set up before I went to Lebanon and never took the time to explain the title, Popcorn and M&Ms.

So, in case you are wondering...

As a good Virgo, I wanted my blog title to be absolutely perfect -- a true reflection of my personality and interests and something that would make even those who don't know me say "I'm intrigued -- tell me more!" Like many, I'd love to blog my way into my own little media empire, so I figured starting a blog was my big chance to establish my brand. I don't even follow Chocolate & Zucchini or the Pioneer Woman, but I've certainly heard of them. So, the title had to be something pithy and catchy that summed up the essence of me and what I think I'm about. (That would be food, cooking, travel and new experiences.) Plus something that was easy to type and memorable -- and not already taken.

My friends Page, Neil and DeAnna -- and of course my sister -- were thus subjected to long lists of (mostly food-inspired) titles: Lagniappe Lyns, Make Mine a Double, I Hated Cheese, No Picky Eaters, On the Half Shell, etc. (If you like any of these better, it's too late.) I fell in love with the idea of naming my blog Sunny Side Up, but it is taken on Blogspot by someone named Eddie who posted exactly one "testing" message in 2003 and then informed us he was going to sleep. Not that I'm bitter. Not at all.

Anyway, at some point, I started reflecting on my love for unexpected combinations: figs and blue cheese, peanuts and Coke, apple pie and cheddar cheese. Yes, I realize these are not exactly revolutionary combinations, but they are all things that had a certain yuck factor until I tried them.

And then I remembered the first unexpectedly delicious combination I ever tasted: the time my mom served popcorn and M&Ms to my friends at a party. As a kid, I loved hosting slumber parties because my house was pretty much the perfect setup: a big backyard pool, a huge yard to play in -- complete with go-cart, and a sort of separate wing with a guest suite where we'd roll out our sleeping bags. My mom would always let us go for a "midnight swim" (which actually happened closer to 9 p.m.), and then she made us late night snacks. I remember being skeptical when she suggested my friends and I eat the popcorn WITH the M&Ms, but I did it, and it's now one of my favorite treats. There's nothing better at the movies.

How many things in life are like that? What is there that we've turned up our noses at but might find delightful if we just gave it a try? I think of this often when I travel outside of the U.S., and it's part of why I am willing to taste almost any local delicacy. I figure if someone else is suggesting that you sample something -- and encouraging you to break out of your preset opinions and prejudices -- it's usually pretty yummy. This has worked quite well with several things: bull's tail in college comes to mind. It has also failed miserably: there was an unfortunate moment when I was forced to decide whether I could swallow my sea urchin sushi without gagging all over my date. However, I'm pretty sure no one told me to order the sea urchin.

So, maybe the lesson here is to stick to what's being recommended. Then again, I'm sure I've found some things on my own that I never expected to love. Whether it's popcorn and M&Ms or something really off the wall, I hope my life continues to be full of unusual combinations that are unexpectedly delicious.


Crystal said...

Love the blog! Loved your Observer piece!

A Dempsey family tradition: Smuggle M&Ms into the movie and dump them in a big tub of popcorn!

Kate said...

Great post! Have you tried Doritos and cream cheese?

Dee Stephens said...

Love this! I so hope your Mom reads your blog?! I've never tried popcorn and M&M's together but so love figs and blue cheese!
Observer piece?? Please share!