Cooking on Ambien #2: Cavity Corn

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When life gives you a steak, grill it. With lemons, you’re supposed to make lemonade. But, um, what about popcorn? Pop it, duh. And definitely make sure you’re under the influence of your sleeping pills, because cooking with hot oil is a great idea when you are on Ambien.

The positive aspect of popping corn in a zombie-like state this is that your apartment will smell like a movie theater in the morning. You’ll also have snacks for days. The negative? Um, you wake up to burns that look identical to leprosy.

Initially, I had invited my friends Ken and Brian over that night for two reasons: One, to play with my new knife set from school. And two, to make popcorn balls. Well, apparently you need marshmallows to make those. I dare you to find marshmallows at one in the morning in the ass-end of my neighborhood. Seriously. Anyways, after throwing together a soy-free steak stir-fry for the boys, it was time for dessert. And, of course, my Ambien.

After wrecking my pantry in search of microwave popcorn, I gave up and decided to pop corn the old-fashioned way: In a pot.

What a fucking terrible idea.

Well, I burnt the first batch, and vaguely recall yelling a lot at the stove. Anne Frank jokes were probably made to the point of annoyance, and Mariah Carey may have been played on repeat. After three attempts at popping, and a garbage can full of burnt corn, I did it: I made popcorn. I also burnt a large portion of my bangs off.

Bowls and bowls of naked popcorn sat on my counter. Brian and Ken stared at me in disbelief.

“It’s fine, no, it’s fine. Want to hear a joke?”

I tell really bad jokes really often.

“NO!” they both exclaimed.
“Okay! What did the chef say to the clock?”
“What,” one of them groaned.
“I need more thyme. Get it? More thyme?”

Whether crickets or bad Polish pop music filled the silence that followed, I’m not sure. In my state, I thought I had hit a home run in the field of comedy. But you know, Ambien tends to make you think everything is funny. Anyways, I managed to whip up a sugar-laden, spicy caramel sauce. Pouring the sauce over each bowl of popcorn, I handed one each to the boys. Silence again, but the good kind.

“My teeth! This is like, cavity corn.”

And thus, cavity corn was born.

Spicy Cavity Corn

8 cups popped, unbuttered popcorn
8 oz butter
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup agave nectar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce

1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt eight ounce of butter.

2. Once melted, add all ingredients, except for popcorn.

3. Turn heat down to medium heat. Simmer the mixture until thick.

4. When the mixture is thick – think a hot fudge, caramel-type texture—turn off the heat.

5. Let sauce cool for one minute, and then pour over popcorn.

6. With a fork and spoon, toss the popcorn around with the cavity sauce to get them all up in each other’s business.

7. When the corn is coated with the mixture, set aside to cool for at least thirty minutes.

8. Eat it. Make sure you brush your teeth. But make sure you eat a lot of it.

This tasty, painful treat lasted me about two days before I gave it to my next-door neighbor. Boleslaw kind of just nodded and grinned with his four teeth before taking the bowl out of my hands. If you’re reading this, Boleslaw, I want my bowl back.

But, yeah, I woke up this morning with my grill on… so stay posted for even more anecdotes about Ambien.