Movie Night: Popcorn Bar and More  

Make time to kick back, splurge on fun food, and catch a flick or two.

Lynlee and Kyle Hudlow had a great idea for a Friday Night at the Movies party but were fresh out of recipes. The couple was already outfitted with a state-of-the-art DVD projection system, an old schoolhouse-style tripod screen, and plenty of friends to share them with. The Southern Living Test Kitchens supplied the food–Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, a glitzy white chocolate dessert popcorn, and a mix-and-match popcorn bar. The Hudlows' friends came with quilts, low-slung chairs, and store-bought sides to go with the sandwiches. For a chilly ending, offer a variety of soda and ice-cream flavors for an out-of-this-world soda-float station. This get-together was, as they say in the biz, a blockbuster hit. Try it at your home soon–even if it's indoors around the big-screen TV.

Set Up a Popcorn Bar

  • If you're expecting a large crowd, shop for big bags of popped corn. For a group of six or fewer, you can probably keep up with the demand by making microwave popcorn.
  • If your gas grill has a side burner, pop corn the old-fashioned way with a pot, kernels, and oil. Do not pop directly on the grill, and read package instructions for how to pop corn on a gas heating element.
  • For a festive county fair atmosphere, rent a popcorn machine from your local party store. The cost is between $45 and $70 for a 24-hour rental, depending on the size. Popcorn and oil is sold separately. You'll need a minivan, SUV, or pickup truck to move a larger machine, and a heavy-duty extension cord is a must.
  • Offer guests a variety of fun sprinkle-ins, such as candies, tropical fruit mix, shredded cheeses, herbs, spice blends, and nuts. Fill the popcorn sack half full, add toppings, more popcorn, and a last sprinkle of good stuff.
Shirley Harrington, Southern Living Associate Food Editor
Jul, 2007
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