A few years ago I read a hack that suggested using a straw to evenly distribute liquid butter throughout your bag of movie theater popcorn. My popcorn experience was never the same after that, because it was so much better. I didn’t even care that my fingers were greasy. I’ve been hitting the bottom of the bag every time, ever since.
Cut to today, after finding yet another article, this time by Extra Crispy. Reporter Stacey Ballis recalls her experience making movie theater popcorn in college, and her revelation of what truly goes into the liquid gold goodness that is movie theater “butter” has completely changed the way I look at the salty, oily drip. Alas, good people of the internet, movie theater butter is, in fact, NOT butter. In fact, it has no butter at all, but rather, a “Butter Flavored Topping”, whose true ingredients will make you switch your popcorn for pretzels ASAP.
“Your movie theater butter has no butter in it, but it does have partially hydrogenated soybean oil (a.k.a. trans fats), beta carotene (a coloring, makes carrots orange), tertiary Butylhydroquinone or TBHQ (synthetic preservative that keeps the color and texture from changing as the product sits), polydimethylsiloxane (silicone based chemical that prevents foaming), and, wait for it, buttery flavoring,” she wrote.
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In addition to the hard-to-pronounce chemicals above, the “butter” also contains Flavacol, a “yellow powder that gets added during popping to give your popcorn that yellow buttery color. It is essentially just a super-fine salt with some coloring agents, although people swear it has butter flavor, even though there are no extra flavorings in it.”
Oh, and all this good stuff has 20 more calories per tablespoon than real butter. NBD!!! To make matters worse, one MTV article interviewed theater employees about how often they clean the “butter faucet,” and their answers ranged from “nightly” to “never.” Sanitary? Not even a little.
Seems like the message is clear, folks. Stay (far, far) away from movie theater butter.
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