Love. Romance. Amore. All standard fare in most, if not all, holiday movies. (Click that link to check out my Unofficial Holiday Movie Guide, the inspiration for this series of posts!)
Like real life, this love can come in many forms from family to friendship to romantic love. Over my extensive Christmas movie watching experience, I have pin-pointed three most common love themes in these movies:
- The Hate-to-Love love: A very common plot device, these movies begin with the two main characters loathing each other. Fighting and bickering from the get-go. Sometimes they are competing for the same end-goal (Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, Window Wonderland), sometimes it’s a personality conflict (Let it Snow, Mistle-tones, Matchmaker Santa, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Charming Christmas). No matter, they will be forced to work side-by-side and eventually each will let his/her guard down and they will see that there is more than meets the eye. And love will blossom.
- Parent-Teacher love: This isn’t quite as common, but does come up. Usually a single parent and precocious child, who is also an outsider, catch the attention of a caring teacher. The parent and the teacher work together to help the child overcome a problem (Cookie Cutter Christmas) or the teacher helps the child bring back the belief in Christmas (Northpole). The magic of it all brings the two adults together to live happily (and merrily) ever after.
- Fake love: Ah, the pretend boyfriend turned soulmate plot line. From the beginning of the scheme, you as a watcher from the outside knows that this whole thing will unravel. The plan is never fully fleshed out, which makes it prime for a comedy of errors. It usually stems from a girl, who has what her parents consider a dead-end job, wanting to impress her family. Likely because she has perfect siblings and she is the black sheep (Holiday in Handcuffs). Sometimes it’s because one person (or both) are so far happily single but their parent’s just really want to see them settle down already, so they pretend for family dinners to keep the ‘rents off their backs (Hitched for the Holidays). This isn’t a new plot device either, the 1945 Barbara Stanwyck classic Christmas in Connecticut had Ms. Stanwyck pretending to be married to keep up the appearance of domestic bliss. Technically in this one, Barbara Stanwyck doesn’t fall in love with her fake beau, but rather someone else, but while she is pretend-married so hilarity still ensues.
These movies are total fluff. It doesn’t make me love them any less, but yes, they are total popcorn movies. Which is why this is the perfect thing to munch on while enjoying these cheesy flicks.
This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite holiday snacks. I know you can get all kinds of popcorn all year long, but around the holidays, those tins start showing up in stores. You know the ones? With the divider inside separating the butter, caramel, and cheesy popcorn? I never buy them, but one always ends up in the breakroom at my work and it is very hard for me to resist the third that contains the cheesy popcorn. It always makes a mess, but it is oh, so good.
Of course the easiest way to make popcorn at home is in the microwave, but I heard those are really bad for you. Like, full of chemicals bad. Luckily, making popcorn at home not using the microwave is actually really easy.
All you need is some popcorn kernels, cooking oil, and any toppings you want. Today I made cheesy popcorn because, why not? (Get it? Cheesy movies… Cheesy popcorn?)
In a pot over medium high heat, add about two tablespoons cooking oil. I used canola, but use what you have. Add one popcorn kernel and put the lid on. Wait a few minutes and when the kernel pops, you are ready to add the rest.
After most of the kernels are popped, turn off the heat and let it finish. It only takes a few minutes.
At this point you can eat it or top it however you want. Since I was making two kinds of cheese popcorn, I divided the batch in two.
For the cheddar popcorn, I just bought one of those boxes of Kraft mac n cheese (or “roni cheese” as my two-year-old calls it). They are only about a dollar each and the cheese packet is the perfect popcorn topping.
Put the popcorn in a plastic bag and add about a tablespoon of melted butter and however much cheese powder you want. I used half a packet, but more would have been great too.
For the Parmesan popcorn, discard the Rosemary sprig and put the popcorn in a separate bag. Add the butter, a couple shakes of garlic salt, and Parmesan cheese. Use the stuff in the green container that you shake on speghetti.
Turn on a Christmas rom-com and snack away!