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  • Betty Girardeau

The Joy Of Corn On The Cob


If someone asked me to list five things that reminded me of summer, I would have to have corn on the cob on that list. My uncle had a large vegetable garden in which he grew corn and it was usually at its peak when we would visit in Virginia every summer. That may be where I first enjoyed this delicacy. But it was also a part of the menu when we were at my other grandparent's in South Carolina. They didn't have a garden, but I remember going with my aunt to the local farmer's market to buy fresh vegetables. By the time we returned home to our little village in the middle of New York State, the wonderful local corn would be ready, too. My mother was a bit of a snob when it came to corn. I can remember her saying matter of factly that the best corn was what we had in New York, much better, she vowed, than any in South Carolina or Virginia. She said that southern corn was nothing more than "field corn" served to humans. This snobbery is especially amusing given that my mother's roots were definitely Southern ones. One summer after I was married and living in Virginia my parents came to visit. Earlier that year they had been on one of their overseas trips and wanted to share their trip pictures. I hosted a picnic dinner and invited my father's two sisters and my sister and her family to come. My mother thought this was a perfect opportunity to prove her point on the superiority of central New York State corn on the cob. They flew to Virginia with one whole suitcase full of fresh corn! The summer my husband was in Viet Nam I traveled with my sister and her family to visit our parents. My older son was two years old and was now eating table food, so we introduced him that summer to corn on the cob. He loved it! After the first ear, he said "More corn," and we gave him a second ear. By the end of the meal he had gobbled down five ears of corn. This was pretty amazing, but there was a bad backlash to that much corn in his system, which made its way known as we were driving back to Virginia the next day. Fresh corn, especially in quantity, is a very good laxative. Need I say more? Another "corny" memory for me is from the summer before my daughter was born. My husband decided that he was going to try to grow some corn in large whiskey barrels on our front deck. This was the house I have mentioned before that was situated in the middle of four acres of woods. So wildlife was abundant. My husband was an army reservist and had to go to summer camp for two weeks every summer. That year the corn grown in the barrels was just about ready to pick when he had to leave for camp. He made me promise to keep and eye on his corn and protect from four footed marauders. I tried. The first night he was gone I kept the outdoor lights on all night and would get up hourly to check on the plants. Every time I checked all seemed peaceful and quiet. So about dawn I decided I was going to finally go to get more than an hour's sleep because I thought the danger to the corn was passed for that night. Wrong! When I finally got up several hours later and looked out, the stalks had been ravaged and not one ear was left intact. The raccoons had had a feast. I dreaded having to tell my husband the bad news. He never tried growing corn again. Yesterday when I went to the Farmer's Market, I was happy to see that local corn is starting to be available. Our local corn is very good, and I think even my Mother would approve of it.

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