Monday, February 15, 2010

Drive-In Memories

When I read that the drive-in theater in my hometown was closing, I was filled with a flurry of emotions. I feel sad that it won't be opening again, even though I don't live close enough to go to it anymore, and I feel really happy that I had the chance to be a part of it at all.
The first drive-in movie I ever went to was at the Puget Park Drive-In. It was summer of 1982 and I was 12 (or just turned 13) years old. A neighbor took her 3 kids and a few of us from the neighborhood to see E.T. We were rollin' sweet in her early 70's Buick station wagon and when we arrived we climbed on top of the wagon's roof, laid out some blankets and enjoyed our first drive-in experience. I loved it! I loved being outside in the open air, seeing the stars above the movie screen and feeling free to talk during the movie without disturbing others.

During my teen years I would go again once or twice, but it really wasn't comfortable in a two-seat sports car. My drive-in love was renewed again around 1997 when my husband and I would spread out sleeping bags in the back of his Toyota 4Runner, open a pizza box, some sodas, a bag of microwave popcorn and enjoy the double feature. At that time Arnold Schwarzenegger was starring in the movie, Eraser. Luckily it was a pretty good flick because we saw it about 5 times as it went through the drive-in rounds; first as the feature film, then a few weeks later as the second movie shown in the double feature. It really didn't matter what movie was playing though. The drive-in experience is all about atmosphere.

The nearest to a drive-in experience here is the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. It's a 650 seat outdoor theater, with a marble floored stage, where Shakespeare's plays are acted out nightly from June through September. Ticket prices vary depending on where you sit. You can sit in the bleachers, box seats with outdoor tables and chairs or in the nosebleed section, which in my opinion is the best of all; a grass-covered area above the tables and bleachers. You can bring in blankets or a tablecloth, a picnic basket, a nice bottle of wine (or your beverage of choice) and enjoy the outdoor entertainment.

No matter what you're seeing or where, there is one food that always comes to mind when you hear the word, movie; popcorn. There's nothing better than movie theater popcorn but these days I'd rather have something with less fat, without sacrificing flavor. Below is a flavorful and unusual popcorn recipe I like to snack on instead.

Cranberry-Orange Popcorn
5 quarts popped popcorn (I use an air popper to pop 1 cup of raw kernels)
½ cup sunflower seeds, shelled (I buy them in the bulk bins)
½ cup pumpkin seeds (also sold in bulk bins)
½ cup orange flavored dried cranberries
½ cup butter, melted
¾ cup orange blossom honey
2 Tablespoons fresh orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (ground works as well)

Preheat oven to 300°. Sift the popcorn through your fingers to sort out any kernels that didn’t pop, and then stir popcorn, seeds and the cranberries together in a large roasting pan. In small bowl, combine melted butter, orange zest and nutmeg. Pour over popcorn and toss to coat. Bake in 300° oven for 15 minutes, stirring twice. When done, stir again and then serve or allow it to cool and store airtight. The whole mixture will fit into two large Ziplock bags.

1 comment:

  1. We have not had drive in movies for at least 35 years and that is too bad. Used to love packing the kids and a lunch in our station wagon to go watch a movie.Great memories!
    Love you recipe.


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TinksTreats by Lorilyn Tenney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License