In Praise of Corn

 

Most of the people here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge have a love affair with the first tomato sandwich of the season.  That would be the ones they make with homegrown or at least local tomatoes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love them too.  A Cherokee Purple running with Duke’s Mayonnaise on white bread, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper…no it doesn’t get better than that…unless you are a corn lover.  Now, in all honesty, I am waiting patiently for my Cherokee Purples to start showing color but last summer I ate or drank corn every day it was available.

There is something about the first roastin’ ear of the season…or first half dozen…at least for me.  Dripping in butter, or not.  Seasoned with salt and pepper, or not.  I don’t care, the first corn of the season is truly a reason to celebrate.  I’m celebratin’ today!

I grew up on a farm that grew copious amounts of corn.  Corn for boiling, creaming, soup mix, or chowder.  It was one of the main ingredients in my grandmother’s chicken pot pies or the occasional “cooter stew.”  Her creamed corn is still the best I’ve ever eaten and I miss it.

Dried, it was ground into cornmeal and grits to enjoy when fresh corn wasn’t available.  Cornbread, cheese and butter grits, corn pone, corn dodgers, and hush puppies.  Yellow, white or bicolor, it didn’t matter.

Corn fed our livestock, even the cobs were ground into a powder mixed with water to serve to our pigs.  The feed bags they were stored in would later become dresses sown from patterns by and for my grandmother, the scraps turned into patchwork quilts.  “Nothing wasted!”

Some might have been allowed to ferment with yeast and barley grain.  Later it would be distilled, stored in light blue gallon Ball mason jars with a few peaches or cherries thrown in for good measure.  Some…if the wrong person asks I’m denying it.

I admit I’ve even eaten it raw, once.  Later, after I recovered, I read an account of the Battle of Camden where it seems the defeat of the Patriot forces might have been aided by the raw corn they consumed along the way.  I guess it is hard to fight with your pants hanging around your ankles.

Well, today is the day.  I got the call from my local “corn monger” and went by and picked up a dozen ears of bicolor.  I used to grow my own until the raccoons discovered it.  Little bastards keep coming back.  They like it about as much as I do.

Um, um, um.  I’m torturing myself and waiting just a bit longer…okay, that’s long enough, my stomach is growling.  Bring enough water to cover the corn to a rolling boil, put in your husked corn, cover and wait until the water has returned to a boil and turn it off.  It is done…don’t you dare overcook it.  Today I will roll it in butter and lightly salt it.

In my best Bugs Bunny voice, “Bon Appétit, you maroons.”

bugs

Image by https://www.eatbydate.com/how-long-to-boil-corn/

Don Miller’s author’s page may be found at https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B018IT38GM?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

 

11 thoughts on “In Praise of Corn

  1. Great post, Don! It brought back good summer AND good corn memories for me! Thank you!

    HA! I love when Bugs Bunny calls people “maroons”! It makes me snort-laugh! 😀

    I love corn and especially corn on the cob! We’ve had some each week so far for the past month! It’s gonna’ be a corny summer here! 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      • Wow! that’s a lot of corn! 🙂 When we lived in Northern CA we probably ate it almost every day. It was plentiful and very cheap. Sometimes all we had for a meal was corn on the cob. And no one complained that there was not meat or bread or anything else. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t eat a great deal of meat during the summer with fresh veggies so plentiful. I think I’m going to try and create a corn and avocado salad tomorrow…I’ll have to go into town to buy the avocados, those we don’t have.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, that sounds yummy!

        I take several kinds of squash (zucchini, yellow squash, etc), slice it, and saute it in a pan with a little olive oil, diced onion, diced peppers, etc. (add whatever fresh, raw veggies you like) and then at the end I add in fresh corn (cut off the cob) and diced tomatoes. Saute the veggies until you think everything is done.
        Some of my family members like some grated cheese on it.
        It’s so delicious!!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Let me know if you like it!
        I started making it when I learned to cook as a kid. My parent always had a huge summer garden. So I’ve been making my veggie casserole for eons. That combo of veggies tastes so good together to me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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