Love at first bite
Yesterday was the last day of
summer and in honor of said
end I must chat about CORN.
Many consider this American
foodstuff bad for you. Yet this
corn fed boy adores it! What's
better than nibbling on a freshly
picked ear? Such a savory bite
is what my Mother used to say
"just like eating sugar beads."
Given few other edibles match
corn for it's historical role in
Americana, what's not to love?
Corn fed beef
Somewhere along the way corn has
gotten a bum rap. As someone who
was raised in a house where bottle
of Karo was frequently used - I find
our current compulsion with eating
right a bit disconcerting. Boomers
grew up on canned veggies, lots of
starch, margarine, and over cooked
protein,. Whatever nutrition gained
from said menu was challenged by
sweets made from Crisco and corn
sweeteners. Somehow we survived.
So why worry about what we eat?!
Our frenetic focus on organic edibles is
elitist at best. Come on... admit it. When
you buy that fresh baked loaf of organic
seven grain bread don't you feel slightly
superior to the slob purchasing Wonder
Bread? Don't get me wrong - I abhor
processed foods as much as the rest. Yet
honestly, just because one prefers Brie to
Velveeta doesn't make them a member of
some super race. While quite chic eating
properly won't guarantee a long life. So
why not dive some Fritos or candy corn?
You can always get some nutrition later...
I hate to be corny (so sorry) but
my Mother adored corn. Spring
was just a prelude to summer's
ear full. From the first day that
those tender ears were available
at the farm stand, Ethel was in
line. She intimately knew every
variety given she had taste tested
them all. And even when a sign
prohibited fondling ears, Ethel
ripped into them in order to find
the perfect victims to husk, boil,
and butter post returning home.
Row by row
Mom could consume at least a dozen
ears at a sitting. Normally the type to
eat an artichoke with a knife and fork,
she had no problem whizzing through
ear after ear like a teletype machine.
Lathered in butter and heavily doused
in salt, she cared little about the mess.
That's because Ethel always tied an
apron or a napkin around her neck
prior to digging in. While quite out
of character, I must admit those may
have been some of our happiest times.
Talk about grinning ear to ear...
Corn was always on our menu. In our home
the frozen variety was eschewed in favor of
canned. If you've never savored fluffy corn
pudding, you've no idea of what you've been
missing. Corn fritters sautéed in butter in a
cast iron skillet? Paradise on a plate. Ethel's
creme de la creme was creamed corn made
from equal parts of butter, cream cheese, and
niblets. For breakfast Mom LOVED a bowl
of corn flakes, covered with sugar, drowned
in heavy cream! And then corn bread with a
dab of butter on every bite. There's nothing
as good as good old fashioned calories!
What the shuck?
With age Ethel's teeth became quite
uncooperative. Thus it fell upon me
to delicately slice summer's bounty
off the cob so that Mother could still
dig in. Oddly watching her shovel
down those niblets is amongst my
fondest memories of Mom's later
years. All of her bitterness magically
disappeared and for a time life was
good. Maybe that's why I've eaten
so much corn this year. You see, I'm
truly happy and given life is short...
why not have another ear or two?