I have but four words for you mofo’s: Vegan! Movie theater! Popcorn!

November 7th, 2010 11:31 am by Kelly Garbato

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Behold: the Nostalgia CCP-509 Old Fashioned Movie (Fun) Time Popcorn Cart, in all its glory.
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Though Shane and I only sporadically exchange gifts for our birthdays, a few years ago I decided to spring for something extra-nice and super-special. Namely, one of those old-fashioned movie theater popcorn cart replicas. And not the countertop model, either. Nope, I went all out, opting for the full-sized version, working wheels and all! We were getting set to move into our first home at the time, so this was also a bit of a housewarming gift that we gave ourselves. (Awwww!)

After some shopping around, I settled on the Nostalgia CCP-509. (Though this model doesn’t appear to be available on Amazon, they do sell the 510 for $205. Free shipping, yo! I’m pretty certain I bought mine from a certain evil box store. Free site-to-store shipping, yo!)

Let’s turn to Overstock.com’s specs for the 101, shall we? (The product manual I managed to dig up is all but useless. Unless you want to know the history of popcorn, in 250 words or less. As I said, useless.)

Dimensions: 27.0×20.0x59.0
Materials: steel, rubber, polycarbonite, glass
Model No: CCP-50

o Your very own 4-foot-11-inch tall theater-style popcorn cart will look great in your game room and will be the hit of every party

o Full-sized, 4-ounce popper will pop up to 1.5 gallons of movie-house-quality popcorn per batch

o Specialty appliance features a large, stainless-steel kettle with a built in stirring system and kernel catcher to keep out the unpopped kernels

o Supplies compartment in the base of the unit for storage of oil, kernels, bags and more

o Popcorn cart offers an easy-to-clean design and, though it’s perfectly sized for the home, is approved for commercial use

Construction and durability: Constructed primarily of steel and weighing in at 50 pounds +/-, the cart’s a pretty solid appliance. We purchased it just before a major household move, so it certainly made the rounds before we assembled it – manufacturer to box store warehouse to local box store to Kansas home to Missouri home – and yet everything was intact when we finally cracked the box open. We’ve had it set up in a spare room for about three years now, shuffling it here and there as home maintenance projects have necessitated, without any problems or even visible wear. We only use it to make popcorn sporadically – mostly for special occasions or trips to the drive-in – and it has yet to fail us.

One reviewer on Amazon complained that the plastic plate that secures the kettle to the roof of the machine shattered – on both the original and replacement cart – sending shards of plastic into the popcorn, but we’ve had no such problem. Others have said that the kernels get stuck in the kettle or do not pop properly, but I suspect that they’re simply adding more kernels than the machine can handle at once. (You’re only supposed to add 1/2 cup at a time.)

You will, however, want to store the machine in a room that’s not subject to much foot traffic or roughhousing, as a tumble could dent the steel, shatter the glass, or damage the kettle and its motor.

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We store our popcorn machine in a spare/storage-type room that isn’t frequently home to the mad dashes of energetic, ball-fetching little doggie monsters.
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Ease of use: The machine’s operation is straightforward and simple: turn the machine on, allow it to run for 3-5 minutes (or until the kettle becomes hot), turn it off, add a tablespoon of popcorn oil and the popcorn kernels, turn the machine back on and go play with the dogs or the kids or your spouse or whomever. In 15 minutes (give or take), you’ll have around 10 cups of rich, buttery deliciousness at your noshing disposal. Rinse, repeat, nom.

Ease of care: In order to prevent the oil from caking onto the kettle (trust me, learn from our mistakes!), it’s best to clean the kettle after every use. Though the manual offers instructions for cleaning the kettle while in place, this involves pouring water into the bowl, allowing it to heat for 15 minutes, and then pouring the excess water out by tipping the kettle (the same way you would unpopped kernels, I might add), using a container to catch the water before it hits the platform of the unit, potentially resulting in an electric shock. Doesn’t sound very safe, does it?

Luckily, the kettle is removable, and while not dishwasher safe, it can be cleaned using a damp, non-abrasive cloth or sponge. Ditto: the inside of the popcorn machine (i.e., where the popcorn is stored) and the kernel catching tray that’s housed, drawer-like, underneath the platform.

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A bowl of rich, buttery/oily popcorn. This was my lunch on Halloween – or, as it’s known in the Garbato-Brady household, Horror Movie Marathon Day.
Dinner? Tofurky Pizza with Daiya Cheese!
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Popcorn quality: Rich. Buttery (but not really; the oil just makes it seem so!). Fatty. Yummy.

If you prefer plain, low-fat popcorn – or no popcorn – then a popcorn machine probably isn’t for you. Unlike an air popper, these old fashioned machines require oil to pop the corn, so there really isn’t a healthy option other than going a bit light(er) on the oil. But. If you like the buttery movie popcorn, yet find yourself shying away because you never can tell whether it’s actually vegan, then a popcorn machine may be the perfect treat for an occasional night in at the movies.

Bonus points: if you want something different, you can choose from a variety of corn kernels and flavored oils.

Aesthetics: Let’s be honest: second only to the awesome factor of being able to make movie theater-quality popcorn on a whim, I bought this cart because it’s beautiful. What with the fire engine red exterior, the elaborate gold lettering, and the vintage vibe, the Old Fashioned Movie Time Popcorn Cart is as much an art piece as it is a kitchen gadget. (Cue: memories of carnival “freaks,” small-town fairs, luxurious retro movie theaters, and baseball games with grandad of childhoods long since passed.) Gorgeous doesn’t begin to describe it.

While smaller, counter-top models are available for as little as $30, we opted for the more expensive full-sized version for several reasons, all of which involve aesthetics (because, let’s face it, we rarely have a need for more than one serving of popcorn at a time!). First and foremost is the retro kitsch factor, which meshes well with some of our other belongings. Shane, for example, is a huge fan of all things baseball, old school stadiums in particular. It’s no coincidence that our popcorn cart resides beside his collection of replica stadiums, bobbleheads and glossy hardcover baseball tomes.

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Makes me wanna don a poodle skirt and dance to Buddy Holly!
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We also seem to have hella more extra floor space than we do counter space, so it works out perfectly!

Value: For us, the Nostalgia CCP-509 is a great value for our money. Granted, it did cost a good chunk of change, but we’ve gotten quite a bit of use out of it. And, when it’s not busy popping our kernels, it pays its way by prettying up our house. It’s the best looking appliance we own, by far.

Look, we even decorate it red, white and blue for FSMas!:

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Hello, Kitty!
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If, however, you find yourself limited by budget or storage space, a mini-cart will work just as well.

Conclusion: Popcorn’s on, vegans!

Yes, that means the doggies, too! Just kidding; these photos were all taken in the days before the Nostalgia CCP-509 came into our lives. Any excuse to whip out the dog photos, amirite peeps?

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His ears and eyebrows clearing the kitchen counter, Peedee tries to sneak a stray piece of popcorn with one outstretched pawn. Not so fast, Peedee, we see you!
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A still-spry Kaylee catches a flying piece of popcorn in mid-air.
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Meanwhile, Peedee continues his not-so-subtle creep onto the counter, and toward the popcorny goodness that taunts him from above.
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6 Responses to “I have but four words for you mofo’s: Vegan! Movie theater! Popcorn!”

  1. Jojo Says:

    Woah, I NEED a full sized popcorn maker! I think I need a bigger house first but one day…

  2. Molly Says:

    That is one beautiful beast of a popcorn maker you have! We love our popcorn, too, but usually use an air popper. Mike has been making it old-fashioned style on the stove lately and it tastes *so* good! I love that last picture of Peedee. It looks like his eyes are heating up to beam some popcorn grabbing lasers from them. :)

  3. Shannon (Vegan Burnout) Says:

    Nice! We make ours on the stove, but I wish we could have a mini-movie theater with our own personal popcorn cart. When we hit the lotto, yo!

  4. Kelly Garbato Says:

    @ Molly & Shannon – Mmmm, stovetop popcorn – just like mom used to make!

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    […] gather in the Oneida Square Community Garden – complete with a popcorn machine! Story here. CC image via Flickr user The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Cos. […]

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