We've recently started doing movie nights on Friday evenings with our three-year-old daughter, working our way through our tremendously large pile of Disney VHS tapes (my husband discovered a few years ago that, if he mentioned at garage sales that we own a VHS player, people will just GIVE him stacks of VHS tapes, because almost no one still has something to play them on).
Our daughter loves this new tradition and asks daily, "Is it Friday?", but I think even more than the movies, she loves the snacks. This kettle corn is one of my favorites because it's easy and inexpensive to make, everyone in our family likes it, and it's not sticky, so there aren't sugar-y fingerprints all over the living room at the end of the night.
In a large stockpot, warm oil over medium heat. While it heats up, stir together the sugar and popcorn kernals in a bowl.
When the oil starts to give off faint trails of smoke, dump the popcorn/sugar mix in and stir for a few seconds with a rubber spatula. Then quickly put the lid on the pot and drape a kitchen towel over the top of the lid so that it reaches both handles. This keeps you from burning your hands on the hot handles and lid, and helps keep the lid tightly on.
Holding the lid on tightly with the towel, shake the pot up and down and back and forth for a few seconds to coat the kernals with the oil and sugar (and to keep the sugar from burning), then return it to the burner. Let it sit for about 25 seconds, then pick it up again and repeat the shaking. Continue for about 3-5 minutes, until you hear the kernals start to pop and continue the sit/shake cycle until almost all of the kernels have popped. Remove from heat, stir immediately, and salt to taste. Serve warm or cold.