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home : columns : columns
August 3, 2020


7/15/2020 11:11:00 AM
. . . of corn on the cob
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my wife, son Tim and I enjoyed a traditional Fourth of July meal - burgers and brats, potato salad and chips, watermelon and, of course, corn on the cob.
Is there any food better for summer dining than corn on the cob? Aside from, perhaps, a triangular-shaped slice of watermelon, corn on the cob screams "summer!"
As a kid, there weren't too many "chores" that were assigned to me by my parents that I enjoyed doing. Whether it was mowing the lawn, sweeping the basement, drying dishes (yes, mom washed and my brothers and I took turns drying them), I complained about having to do those simple, menial tasks.
However, whenever dad came home with a couple sacks full of sweet corn, my parents didn't have to ask twice about "husking" the corn. I looked forward to that.
Husking sweet corn was almost like a little Christmas in July. Each ear of corn was its own "gift-wrapped" package, especially that first one. You never knew for sure, at least until you pulled back the husks on that first ear whether you got ears with big, thick, juicy kernels, or ears with the smaller, almost white and arguably sweeter kernels.
My wife has always preferred the smaller kernels, which she believes are sweeter and tastier.
I, on the other hand, always hoped to find those nice, big, bright yellow kernels, which I believe are better tasting and give you a bigger mouthful of corn with each bite.
I always made a game of husking corn. I made it a personal challenge to see if I could cleanly husk an ear with two pulls of the outer shell and, with the second pull, snap off the stem right at the big end of the ear. Indeed, there was an art to husking corn.
As a kid, I didn't spend a lot of time cleaning the silk strands from the ear, but I do these days. As disgusting as it sounds, finding a strand of silk with your corn is like finding a strand of hair in your potato salad. I like a nice, bright yellow, clean ear of corn.
How do you eat your ear?
When it comes to eating corn on the cob, there are more different ways to eat an ear of corn than there are opinions of what makes a great ear of corn.
A quick poll around the Citizen office found the following:
•  Some eat their corn from left to right, others from right to left, but almost everyone taking anywhere from three to six rows of kernals with each bite.
•  Some eat from big end to narrow end and others from narrow to big.
•  Some eat an entire circular band of corn before moving over to the next band.
•  Others will eat a whole row, three to six kernals wide, then eat another row.
One Citizen staffer doesn't have a method, but changes from meal to meal.
I didn't find any that just eat their ear randomly.
However you eat your corn on the cob, there's little debate that you enjoy it. It's one of the all-time great summer delicacies.
Corn on the cob also brings back plenty of memories, even one from classic TV.
'You, you ninny!'
Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a "M*A*S*H" junkie. If I have absolutely nothing to do, I'll sit and watch a "M*A*S*H" marathon.
On one particular episode, "A War for All Seasons" (1980), the 4077th documents an entire year in a half hour show. One of the story lines in the episode follows Father Mulcahy's efforts to grow sweet corn, culminating with the cook presenting the corn for the unit's grand Fourth of July picnic.
Here's the exchange:
Capt. B.J. Hunnicut to Father Mulcahy: In a few minutes we're going to be decobbing corn, thanks to you and your khaki thumb.
Father Mulcahy: Don't I know it. All week I've been dreaming of getting butter on my cheeks, juice on my shirt, and a niblet wedged between two molars.
[Walks up to the table]
Mulcahy (shocked): Where is the corn?
Cpl. Igor Straminsky (cook): You're looking at it. The mushy stuff.
Mulcahy: You . . . You creamed it! [On the verge of tears] You . . . you ninny!
Straminsky (as everybody yells at him): I was just trying to be helpful. Next Fourth of July you can eat it on the cob for all I care.
Happy husking and eating!








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