So, no word from our friends at Cuisinart about the nonstick coating on the popcorn maker, so back it went to gracious and accommodating Williams-Sonoma. Clerk: "I wouldn't have anything with a nonstick coating in my kitchen either."
Ended up buying a contraption that looks like it is right out of the 1950's...and it is! Called a Whirley Pop, it's an aluminum pan with a cover and crank handle that powers an arm that circles the bottom of the pan and keeps the kernals moving. Works beautifully. Only problem is the aluminum. John pointed it out and I said that HE could return the popcorn maker this round. I think we might try to find a stainless steel pot the same size and just use the clever top with crank and rotator.