Popcorn is a type of corn kernel that, when heated, pops to form the familiar puffs known to cinemagoers everywhere. The kernels contain about 15% moisture, which turns to steam when heated, and the increase in internal pressure is what causes the kernel to pop.
Heat some oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan on medium high heat.
Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and wait for the popcorn kernels to pop.
When these kernels pop, add the rest of the kernels in an even layer.
Cover the pot, remove from heat and count 30 seconds.
Return the pan to the heat and once the popping is underway, occasionally shake the pan gently back and forth over the stove.
Once the popping has slowed to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and empty the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
Season with salt or paprika and enjoy.