Swiss design students have developed what has to be the least efficient method of popping popcorn possible. It's basically the exact opposite of the Popinator, which we reported on earlier.
Using what looks like a tea light for heat and a decidedly Rube-Goldberg series of dispensers and levers, the machine takes a single kernel of corn, plops it into a puddle of oil and slowly heats it until it inevitably pops. At that point it's collected and dispensed for consumption.
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This device was created with a string of similar "Low-Tech Factories" for an exhibit at ECAL /University of Art and Design Lausanne, Switzerland. The point of the exhibit is to slowdown and illuminate the process by which things are mass produced in our society. it's like an artsy, adult version of Mr. Roger's trip to the crayon factory. It's not surprisingly that popcorn is the archetypical mass produced fast food only requiring a sufficiently large pot, source of heat and corn subsidy.
We can not help but wonder if an installation like this might find it's way into the hands of molecular gastronomists stateside. They are after all pursuing a somewhat similar course of study; breaking down the complicated chemistry of cooking and reassembling it in novel ways. A kernel-by-kernel popcorn popper loaded with handpicked corn from the finest organic farms in the world and salted with truffled sel gris from the shores of France, would sound right at home in a place like the Aviary in Chicago.