Thursday, September 11, 2008


In my low riding Honda civic I could not see over the tall stalks on either side of the road. It looked as if someone wielding an accurate machete had clear cut a narrow path through the forest of green. I was heading home on a thin asphalt strip between row after precision row of ramrod straight warriors. The heat of the day had elevated the growth fervor of the stately plants and the heady aroma of hot corn silk permeated the air. Checking the rear view, I slowed the car and rolled down all the windows. Inhaling deeply I was transported back to childhood days.

My grandfather had a one acre garden almost half planted in sweet corn. He planted both yellow and white corn, but the new bicolor hybrids soon gained favor as they combined the two colors on one lovely ear. Ahhh, life was good. On the farm we waited in anticipation every year for the corn to “come on”. My grandpa picked it in the dew of the morning and that same afternoon we would deliver it to family and friends in town. They treated it as the glorious gift that it was.

In the kitchen, my grandma would have at least two large turkey roaster pans filled to the brim with corn, with water to cover. Bring to a boil and quickly turn off the heat. She would cook up dozens of ears for lunch and then again for supper. I remember eating 8 and 10 ears of corn at one setting!! I mean ~ when the season was over ~ it was over. Oh sure, we froze corn, canned corn and made beautiful corn relish, but it was never quite the same as juggling a slippery hot ear. We put a stick of butter on a saucer, sprinkled salt on top, and passed it around. It was the fastest, most efficient way of getting the job done. At the beginning of the meal we might butter up 2 or 3 ears at a time to keep us good till the saucer made it around the table again. In the morning, Grandma cut the left over corn off the cob and fried it up in a little butter or bacon grease. Truly, the breakfast of my champions.

I have often declared that I am a “corn snob”. And it is true. I love the new bar-b-que place down the road, but the water logged bright yellow half ear that they include on my plate ~ is a give away. I would rather eat my napkin. I need corn that is picked fresh the day you eat it. Now here I am with my “four-ears-for-a-$1” seasonal addiction that I purchased from a neighborhood farm. Oh Lord what a beautiful sight: my plate loaded with thick slices of red tomatoes and shiny green beans from my garden lying beside long ears of lightly buttered-no salt sweet corn. It is the closest I will every get to becoming a vegetarian. Clang the dinner bell and God bless our farmers!

* annette

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