07 August 2008
Simple Things - Sweet Corn
Nothing says summer quite like sweet corn on the cob. It’s the truth... yet it is something I had almost forgotten. You see, I seldom cook corn on the cob. For well over a decade I have had at least one child at my table who was wearing braces or some sort of appliance in their mouth and, as many of you know, under those circumstances corn on the cob is taboo. But just this Spring my youngest child got his braces off and when I saw sweet corn show up at the market I bought some.
At first I planned to cut it from the cob to add fresh corn to my Corn Salad with Pecan Dressing. That corn salad is a great summer side dish. I knew it would be even more delicious made with fresh sweet corn. So I shucked the corn and cooked it.
As I watched the steam rising from the pot another idea came to mind. I remembered my Aunt standing at the stove with steam rising from the pots she carefully tended. Then I remembered how she used to make a skillet of fried corn from any leftovers the day after we had eaten corn on the cob. Nostalgia got the better of me and I decided to serve my corn on the cob for dinner and then make a pan of fried corn for dinner the next day. I had six ears of corn and only three of us for dinner. It seemed like there would be plenty so I drained the corn and set it on the table.
It seems everyone else had forgotten how much they liked corn on the cob too. I didn’t even put butter on the table, or corn holders. They just picked up the corn and bit into it. Slight sighs of joy followed. After a quiet minute or two my husband became dreamy eyed and told us how corn reminded him of childhood summers and of visiting his Aunt Marie and Uncle Fred. My son then reached into his memories and asked if we didn’t have this more often when he was little, as he nabbed a second ear from the bowl.
All I could think of was hot summer days, before any of us had air conditioning, and my Aunt standing over the stove in her hot kitchen with that steam rising from the huge corn pot as she cooked our evening meal. I also remembered the great family stories when the meal was over, sitting around her dining room table, or at the picnic table in the back yard when relatives from out of town would stop by for a day or two. Then there was always some fried chicken and salads galore, not forgetting a big bowl of corn on the cob. Everyone, full and satisfied following the evening meal, had time to talk and answer questions, tell tale tales and share some laughter.
Ahhh! Sometimes the simplest things are really the best! It was great to have a dinner my family really enjoyed and it was nice to have that family time, sharing memories around the table. Before we were done there was none left for Fried Corn or Corn Salad. But, of course, summer’s not over yet….
I do have a simple way of cooking corn that cuts down on the heat produced just a smidge and helps the corn come out of the pot sweet and tender. It is the way described in my 1980 version of "Betty Crocker's Cookbook." I never thought of it as a recipe but it is different than the way many people cook their corn.
Corn on the Cob
Shuck corn and remove the silk just before cooking.
Place corn in just enough unsalted cold water to cover.
To the water add 1 Tablespoon of sugar and 1 Tablespoon of lemon for each gallon of water in the pot.
Bring water to a boil. Boil for two minutes. Remove from heat.
Let corn sit in the water for 10 minutes.
Drain corn and serve.