Father's Day is June 16

A trip to Brattleboro, Vermont was just what I needed this winter... it provided a little R&R and an idea that was perfect for Japanify.

Brattleboro put on quite a show for this Californian. It snowed just enough make the dwellings around town look like gingerbread dusted with powdered sugar, but not enough to soak into my boots. This was definitely as close as I have ever been to experiencing a white Christmas.


What on earth was I doing in the boondocks of Vermont? Visiting my best friend from the 11th grade. Here we are when were 18... err... 20.


Staying in her beautiful home brought me into the company of her three wonderful roommates whose interests range from welding to circus arts. Netti, who is involved in the latter, is whom I must credit for this week's Japanify. She showed me how to combine a quintessentially American snack ingredient with a traditionally Japanese condiment.

Tamari popcorn



Tamari in a spray bottle
1/2 cup Nutritional yeast
2/3 cup Popcorn kernels
4-5 tbsp of oil


1. Popping the kernels starts with heating up oil in a large pot. Cover the bottom of the pan with about 1/4 inch of oil and heat on high.

2. To make sure the oil is hot enough put one kernel in and wait until it pops. Once it pops adjust the heat to medium and put all the kernels into the pot.

3. Heat the kernels on medium and swish the pot around so the corn kernels on the bottom the pan don't burn.

4. Once all the popcorn is popped, transfer enough popcorn into a bowl so it's about 2 inches deep.

5. Bust out the spray bottle and go to town. Toss the bowl as you spray. 4-5 sprays should suffice.


6. Sprinkle a generous amount of nutritional yeast onto the popcorn.


7. Repeat steps 4-6 until your bowl is full.

This is a crowd-pleaser in terms of how quick it can be made and its nutritional value. It was a pleasant surprise to find this gem of a snack utilizing a Japanese ingredient in southern Vermont. Thanks to Netti and all the folks at Chez Vie!

One for the road:

Column: Japanify


  • 1) Beautiful, and by that I mean ALL the pictures – you guys were totally rockin’ that look back in your college days. So, what did you wear to costume parties when you had to dress up?

    2) What the heck is “nutritional” yeast and why do you add it to the popcorn?

    Anders on

  • these portraits are absolutely priceless.
    i heart my babes.
    especially KJI aka Kim Jong Illy.

    oh, and this popcorn recipe is awesome!

    Kayoko Akabori on

  • Love the picture and love the post. you and maria were the cutest!!

    My friends from college grew up in mendocino and ft. bragg and they have nutritional yeast at their movie theater there to sprinkle on popcorn. and i’ve tried it on a bagel too, so good!

    saaara on

  • Kayoko – I can’t believe you are still friends with me given we met when I was dressed like that everyday.

    Anders – Thanks. We were nerds – no parties, unless we threw our own. For those parties, Maria wore men’s white briefs and I wore gold chains from the hardware store around my neck and ski pants. Nutritional yeast is a condiment for hippie, vegetarian types. It’s kind of like a taste substitute for something savory. For example, sprinkling it on popcorn as a substitute for butter. Nutritional yeast can also be sprinkled on toast for some umami.

    Wen – Thanks for reading!

    yoko on

  • YUM :)

    wen on

  • YUM. I can’t wait to try this. Although I do have some reservations about using a spray bottle when preparing food ingredients. Kind of weirds me out for reasons I can’t explain.

    worm on

  • Isn’t Vegemite basically nutritional yeast in creamy form?

    Yoko, come on, have we changed THAT much since high school? Hmmm. Head scratch.

    Kayoko Akabori on

  • So, I tried the recipe. It was pretty good but I think I would like butter instead of the yeast. The yeast tastes EXACTLY like Ebios digestive tablets (which is brewer’s yeast, so it makes sense.) I feel sorry for people who use this as a substitute for cheese because cheese is heavenly and yeast is just sad and tastes like yeast, not cheese.

    One more thing. Since some people (Anders) may not know what nutritional yeast is, I looked it up in Wikipedia and here is an intriguing part of the entry:

    “Nutritional yeast has a strong flavor that is described as nutty, cheesy, or creamy, which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes. It is often used by vegans in place of parmesan cheese. Another popular use is as a topping for popcorn, which is sometimes described as “Lesbian Doritos.”

    Lesbian Doritos?! What?!

    worm on

  • I actually think that cutting food with scissors is genius! In fact, I think I’ll invest in a pair of good kitchen scissors today.

    The spray bottle thing is weird— but makes total sense to me too. Kinda an A-HA moment. Although I probably will never do it myself.

    Kayoko on

  • Worm – yeah it’s kind of like the same apprehension I have when I see people cutting their food with scissors.

    yoko on

  • Lesbian doritors… OMG, that is so funny. Yeah, anything is better with butter.

    yoko on

  • Just spit out my water.

    Kayoko on

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