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Adding some zest to an American classic
The Popcorn Bag, a new shop specializing in gourmet popcorn in a wide variety of flavors, has opened at 1711 Princess Anne St.

 Jim Ford pours homemade buffalo sauce on a batch of fresh popcorn at the newly opened Popcorn Bag, which offers sweet and savory popcorn flavors.
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Date published: 1/6/2013

By Cathy Jett

DILL PICKLE isn't the first flavoring that comes to mind for popcorn.

But at the newly opened The Popcorn Bag, dill pickle seasoning helps to give an addictive, savory snap to kernels of gourmet white cheddar popcorn.

It's just one of a dozen or so flavor combinations at the shop, which occupies 500 square feet of the space that formerly housed Two Sisters Boutique at 1711 Princess Anne St.

Helen Ford, who owns the business with her husband, Jim Ford, ran two successful The Popcorn Bag stores with her sister, Linda Hardwick, in a Houston suburb. When she married recently retired Marine Jim Ford last spring, the newlyweds decided to close the smaller of the two and open one here instead.

"Everyone loves popcorn, and the variety of flavors will bring people in," he said. "I can do sea salt and black pepper, buffalo and buffalo ranch. There's even a beer flavor. We'll add flavors and do promotions to bring people in."

Currently, The Popcorn Bag's offerings include such specialty flavors as Black Tie--caramel corn drizzled with white and dark chocolate, and savory ones that include one of Jim Ford's favorites, spicy queso. The taste of cheese registers first, but is quickly followed by a slight kick of heat.

"I like the spicy ones," he said.

The Fords currently pop regular and kettle corn at their shop and get shipments of caramel corn from the original Houston store. They don't have the space needed to separate and toss the sticky popped kernels until they harden and dry.

Adding various flavorings, drizzles or such things as chunks of Oreos is a simple process that doesn't take much room. To create dill pickle flavored white cheddar popcorn, for example, Jim Ford scooped a gallon of plain, or "naked," popcorn, as he called it, into a commercial tumbler.

Its paddle stirred the kernels as he added melted cheese mixed with corn oil and dill pickle seasoning. When the kernels were coated, he added a dusting of the seasoning blend for additional flavor.

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