I’m not a good cook.  We’ve already discussed that. But I have been trying to get better.  I’ve been trying to expand the borders of my small culinary intellect to at least rival that of my husband’s. I normally fail.

But recently I had a triumph with corn.  I had actually never cooked it myself.  Really…I’m totally serious.  I had seen it made but never had the courage to do it myself.  Somehow all the little yellow beads intimidated me.

Anyway, I made some corn this last weekend while my Aunt, Uncle and their twin boys were visiting.  It turned out to be a success and it got me to thinking: What makes a really good corn on the cob?

This is my first attempt a couple weeks back. The corn itself wasn't very good.

This is my first attempt a couple weeks back. The corn itself wasn't very good.

First: You have to have the essentials – butter, salt and pepper.  Olive oil isn’t that bad either if you’re looking for heart healthy.

Second: You have to get some corn.  I know, I know…but really.

This is where I get confused on the moral laws of corn searching.

Corn comes wrapped in nature.  It has these huge leaves and stringy things that stick out everywhere and make it impossible to see if the corn is wrinkled and nasty or plump and beautiful.  Even though I know it is rude to go into the supermarket and touch every vegetable and then put it back…it’s different with corn. It just is.

You have to semi shuck the corn to know if it’s any good.  You have to get dirty to get the goods.  You have to rip open that packaging like a mean old lady, examine it inches away from your face and either greedily shove it into a bag or sneer and toss it back on the pile in contempt. You can’t only examine one of the batch and expect the rest are good.  You have to peal open each one to determine if it is suitable for consumption.

Some may object to my etiquette but I simply must agree then to disagree.  I won’t be had.  You have to have good corn if you’re going to make good corn on the cob.

Third: You have to give the corn enough room in the pot to maneuver. This isn’t the crowded streets of New York City Folks! Give that corn some room to breathe! Make sure to cook it until the water becomes a nice translucent yellow.

Fourth: If you’re planning on grilling the corn…shuck it ahead of time.  At a recent family function we all decided that you could cook the corn in the husks.

You can’t.

The leaves go up into flames and get ashes all over the corn.

Fifth: For maximum enjoyment of corn…you must, must, must leave your manors at the door.  People are going to accidently spit on you.  People are going to make sounds you didn’t think humans could make.  People are going to look like this is the first piece of food they have had in months – partially because you just make the best corn on the cob ever but mostly because that is just the nature of the beast.  Corn is sloppy.

In other news:

Last night Andrew made me sushi…yeah…now you see what I have to compete with. I’m working on a basic starch that dimwitted pilgrims, used to hard tack, were able to cook while he is getting ready to enter the competition for Iron Chef America.

Don't worry - all cooked. Oh! I can still taste it.

Don't worry - all cooked. Oh! I can still taste it.

This is my "Joey watching Finding Nemo" face. I was eating Nemo but you get what I mean.

This is my "Joey watching Finding Nemo" face. I was eating Nemo but you get what I mean.

Iron Chef himself.  Mmmm, shrimp tempura.

Iron Chef himself. Mmmm, shrimp tempura.


6 responses

  1. Oh, how I love corn on the cob. And I agree you gotta be picky when picking it! Though I have seen signs at some farm stands that say you can’t peek.. really? I had thought it was a given. Also, I have yet to find good corn on the cob at the grocery store. I gotta get it fresh from a farm stand. Have you? If so, where?
    Lastly, not to disagree with you, but just wanted to let you know you CAN cook it in the husks on the grill. We did it once a few years ago (had to follow a recipe)… you had to soak the corn (in the husks) first though and I believe you pulled out some of the silks… I could dig up the recipe if you wanted, but the verdict at our cook out was that while it tasted good, it didn’t taste any better then boiled in a bot of water on the stove for 7 min, so why go through the added hassle.

  2. If you want to successfully cook corn on the grill leave the husk on and soak it in water for 20 minutes or so. It wont burn up. It will be super good.

    If you are cooking it in a pot, throw a little sugar in. I don’t know why. Edna Joan did it that way. But then she put sugar on tomatoes and watermelon too.

    Call Bobby Flay and have him do a throwdown with Andrew.

  3. as an alternative to the husk, wrap it in aluminum foil. It’s the same concept as the husk, but it won’t catch fire. I’ve done it both ways though. husk works better with a charcoal grill than a gas grill if you know what you are doing.

  4. One of the first times I went to Geoff’s house for dinner, his mom put some milk in with the corn water. I thought this was kind of weird. But then when I went to make corn for him, he was VERY insistent that I, too, put milk in the corn. It still sounds strange to me…but mmm. It makes it so amazing. Also, that sushi looked AMAZING. I sort of wanted to crawl through my computer screen and eat it. Or, come find Andrew and get him to make it again for me. I was JUST talking today about how much I want good sushi. And I, for one, am VERY proud of your corn cooking endeavor. I especially love tip #5. So true.

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