Saturday, August 8, 2009


I am a simple man give me an ear of girthed, August corn, and I have a to meal.

When did we go completely awry with corn? It has been know to the European since their first landing in the New World and quickly spread around the globe. It’s adoptability lead not only to its transportation but its transmutation. From off the cob to flinty varieties best for gruels to sweet nibblets corn can feed almost any craving. Industrialization has definitely taken one of the staples of the native pantry, and made it a global additive.

Right now, as corn reaches its zenith I am eating cobs like an old typewriter moving across a page; stripping the kernels for a salad; never discarding the cobs for there is a stock in there; even using the fresh husks to wrap fish before grilling. I do not need a laboratory and PhD to show me the full potential of corn – one bite does that.

I remember my first truly fresh ear of corn: I was performing the recalcitrant tween on a six-week cross-country tour with a group of other eastern kids. A stop in Kansas yielded my first successful robbery – I snagged an ear of cob out of the field. I had only had corn when I mother would cook it for a half-hour in a large pot of water splashed with milk and seasoned with sugar. And, I thought I liked corn. Fresh off the stalk this was a transformational moment, and upon returning home I tried to talk my mother out of technique in favor of a gentler method – but, alas to no avail. To this day, even with the accessibility to white and bi-colored varieties she cannot let go of that over-boiled presentation of what for me should be served raw.

Corn-ade – yields apprx.3 quarts
6 corncobs (corn kernels used for another dish)
1-cup sugar
5 limes – juiced

In a 4-quart saucepan bring 3-quarts of water to the boil with the corncobs and sugar. Then cover the pot and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes on a very low heat. Remove from the heat and allow the liquid to cool – about 15 minutes. Remove the cobs and stir in the lime juice. Chill the corn limeade completely and serve in tall glasses over ice.


Anonymous said...

Richard, I was one of the lucky recipients of your refreshing and surprising corn ade yesterday during your Greenmarket class. My palette is still giddy from its taste--as well as from the corn ice cream and the rest of the smorgasbord we cooked up. Thank you for a most enjoyable day and to sharing your passion and knowledge with us. Despite not yet being finished with The Omnivore's Dilemma and recently feeling a bit 'off' corn of any kind because of it, you've helped turned me back on to corn (even if it never does quite get digested) and to the many wonders available at farmer's markets.

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