Chewy Caramel Popcorn Balls

I’m just going to come out and say it, I’m a feminist.

I know, I shouldn’t be ashamed, but sometimes in the back of my head I can hear my dad ranting and raving about Jane Fonda, feminism, and Vietnam, and I think uuuggghhh.

But, that’s me in a nutshell.  Fighting the power, and all that.

Yesterday, when we were getting into the truck to drive down to the country, Soledad was going on and on about how her big sister Shelbi is NOT the boss.

And while she’s telling Shelbi to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine, she proceeds to tell Shelbi who the bosses are.  As you might guess, they include me and her father.  And then she says, and the numero uno boss, in charge of everybody is. . . . .

The President?
Nope. Daddy.

And now she’s pouring salt into my wounds, as she hollers some nonsense about Mommy having to do what Daddy says.

And then, quite literally, my head explodes into a thousand tiny pieces as I scream at the top of my lungs “WHAT DID YOU SAY?” 

Silence overtakes the the truck. Not even little Phoebe will make a noise now. For the children know, crazy lady has come out to play. My tongue falls out of my mouth edged with a serpents fork and my voice hardens and deepens into a hoarse moan.

“I. am. a. grown. independent. self. sufficient. woman.” I muse, “who makes her own decisions. And NOBODY tells me what to do. ESPECIALLY not Daddy! We are partners. I am not his boss, nor is he mine. We work together. Got it????”

Blank stares everywhere. They’re smart enough not to answer that question. But they know, and I know, it’s a touchy subject. Sometimes, I have a hard time reconciling my idea of feminism with this very traditional role I have taken as a stay at home mom.

So we travel to the country, and no more nonsense is spoken about traditional women’s roles until . . . . . .

Great Uncle Dingaling (for short) comes into the room, and looks at beautiful 6 year old Bella drawing on a pumpkin.

Uncle Dingaling:   Hey there Bella!

Bella:  Hi.

Uncle Dingaling:  Boy you’re getting big!  How old are you now?

Bella:  Six.

Uncle Dingaling:  Wow. Are you drawing on that pumpkin?

Bella:  Yup.

Uncle Dingaling:  Whatcha wanna be when you grow up? (He’s thinking artist, because she’s drawing on a pumpkin)

Bella:   A mommy.

Uncle Dingaling:   Huh?  I didn’t say what do you want to do. . . .muffled stupid laugh. . . . .I said what do you want to be?

Bella:   A MOMMY.

And before he could say on more word, I leapt in there. And I gave him my crazy mommy/lunatic blurb about how being a mommy is a job. Then, I think I said something about choices, valid life decisions, and who knows what else.

I know I didn’t need to pipe in. Bella could have set him straight on her own. But I did it because sometimes I need to hear it for myself. I need to know that this thing I do everyday is a valid choice. Intellectually, I know that it is, but sometimes. . . . . . I wonder if I am teaching my girls how to be strong independent women, by staying home and being there mother in this capacity. I shutter, even as I type.

But then that’s what feminism is all about. Right? The right to choose. To choose to go to work, or to choose to stay at home.  And my Bella, in her 6 short years, has told me it is valid.  That I am valuable.  That I am good, and needed, and loved. So loved that she wants to be just like me when she grows up.

I should have just kept my mouth shut, and let my feminist little girl school that old man on life.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

So today, we are having popcorn balls.  For many, many reasons.

One being, that Uncle Dingaling might need some balls.  Or better balls, anyway.

And because, sometimes I have balls but might need to remove them.

But most importantly because it’s Fall, and nothing says Halloween like Yummy perfect, chewy, gooey balls. Popcorn, that is.

Not the crunchy kind that you find in the store. You bight on those, and you’ll lose your teeth.

The soft, pull apart, buttery, caramel, delectable type.  The type you’ll only find here or in heaven.

Chewy Caramel Popcorn Balls

1/2 stick butter
4 cups Mini Marshmallows
1/4 cup brown sugar
3-4 quarts popcorn, popped


1. In a large pot, melt the butter on your stove top. Once the butter is melted, add marshmallows and brown sugar. Stir until completely melted, and caramel brown in color. Remove from heat.

2. Add popcorn, and stir gently until completely coated, careful not to crush the popped kernels.

3. Spray hands with cooking spray, and  begin to form the popcorn into loosely fashioned balls. Set on wax paper or Silpat until cooled.  Wrap with Saran Wrap or place into an air tight container until ready to eat.  Stores well for a few days.

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