For Christmas, my mom gave us a Stir Crazy
popcorn popper. I love it! Instead of me jiggling the popcorn around, there's a metal stick that does it for me. And there's no need to get out the aluminum foil or my Nomex gloves or anything else. There's even a place at the top where you put your butter.
The steam escaping from the popcorn melts the butter. The melted butter drips into the bowl and spreads evenly around all the popcorn. So you no longer have to have sections of dry popcorn and sections of wilted, butter-saturated popcorn. I believe that I will never eat popcorn in my house again that does not come out of a Stir Crazy.
Want to know another reason why the Stir Crazy is so cool? Each week, I roast coffee beans for Mrs. BigKat. My coffee roasting method is really quite similar to my old popcorn popping method. Except instead of jiggling the bowl, I stir the beans with a stick. And instead of doing it on a stove, I use a heat gun. And during the winter, instead of hanging out inside a nice warm house, I will have to sit outside freezing my bottom off for 15 minutes. Well, if the Stir Crazy can help me make popcorn, do you think it can help me roast coffee? Apparently so!
Some people have taken a Stir Crazy and combine it with a Turbo Oven (a small 'As Seen On TV', Set-It-And-Forget-It style convection oven) and made a home roasting rig out of it. The Stir Crazy stirs the beans and the Turbo Oven provides the heat (I believe that most people disconnect the Stir Crazy heating element). And from what I've seen, it seems to work pretty well! Now, I'm certainly not going to dismantle my new favorite popcorn popper, just to make coffee roasting easier. So my next job is to scour some thrift stores and see if I can find these 2 units for cheap. Then my days of sitting in out in the cold rain, huddled over warm bowl of coffee beans, while stirring like a madman will be over.
If you want to see a video of the Stir Crazy/Turbo Oven (or the SCTO to coffee geeks), you can check one out here. Notice his awesome cooling rig too. That's next on my list...