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It’s Corn on the Cob Time

“We’ll save Elaine’s corn. She only ate half of it,” I said while Husband gathered dirty plates after supper with Daughter’s family. Elaine, my six-year-old Grand, had completely cleaned one side of an ear of corn; the other hadn’t been touched.

“Want to save mine?” My Grand’s older sister asked. Corn kernels dotted the ear she held. A few here. A few there. The corncob had been attacked from all sides with no rhyme or reason. I shook my head. Looking at Elaine’s half eaten ear of corn, her sister said, “How does Elaine do that?”

Elaine, like many people, eats corn by rows. Starts at one end and eats a whole row, or two or three, to the other end. People eat corn differently. Some people eat around the cob. Chomping all the kernels while rotating the cob. Some bite in a hit or miss pattern.

And there are just as many ways to cook corn on the cob. I grew up eating boiled corn. Dad pulled the ears from the corn stalks in our garden and shucked each ear. My chore was to remove the silks. Mom heated a pot of water while I struggled with thin, damp strings wedged between the kernels and rows. Mom carefully eased several ears, some silks intact, into boiling water. Then she set the timer for 20 minutes.

The cooked corn was starchy and chewy. I thought it was good until Mom discovered that corn boiled for only five minutes was better. Tender and juicy.

I’ve cooked corn many ways. Boiled for a few minutes as Mom taught, roasted, and microwaved. To roast, pull the shucks off and remove the silks. Slather the kernels with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper and ‘redress’ with the shucks. Or just cut off the brown silks and don’t’ shuck. Either way, place corn ears on a medium hot grill for about fifteen minutes.

Microwaved corn is fast. For years, I removed the shucks and silks and placed the ears in a flat baking pan. Added about ¼ inch of water and covered tightly with plastic wrap. Cooked on high about 2-3 minutes per ear.

Now I leave the husks on and cut off the brown silks. Microwave about 2 ½ minutes per ear. To hold cooked corn, roasted or microwaved, I wrap it in newspaper and place in a thermal bag. Shuck just before serving and the silks almost slide off. Roll each ear over butter. I gave up spreading butter on hot corn a long time ago.

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to eat corn on the cob, but I have definite ideas about cooking and seasoning. Less cooking is better, no matter how it’s cooked and there are more ways than mine. Removing silks is easier after cooking in the husk. Butter and salt are ‘musts’. Black pepper is optional.

And I know fresh corn on the cob is mighty fine eating and if you eat in rows you might have leftovers for another day.



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