Today is National Corn on the Cob Day.
Corn on the cob (or ‘the bone’ as a late family member used to say) is one of the delights of summer, and eating it brings back precious memories for me.
Learning to Shuck Corn
My grandma, Florrie THOMAS MARTIN (1894-1979) taught me how to shuck corn. There were no plastic bags at stores then, so the corn came home in brown paper bags. We sat at the kitchen table, and Grandma would tear open the bag in such a way that it spread out all over the table for a clean place to work. Off came the husks and then the silks. We used a vegetable brush occasionally to get the silks off.
Sometimes there would be a worm snacking on an ear of corn. No matter. Grandma would remove the worm and use a sharp knife to cut around where it had been eating. Soon the ears were prepped and ready for the boiling water. We gathered the brown bag up with the husks and silks inside and deposited them in the trash.
Time to Eat!
Several minutes later it was time to eat the steamy corn and enjoy the flood of sensory delights. Seeing the creamy butter slowly melting as it glides across the hot corn with the help of a knife. Bumpy corn holders that look and feel like little yellow ears of corn themselves. The snapping sound that corn on the cob makes when you bite into it. And the sweet, buttery, salty goodness filling your mouth. There is nothing else like it.
My grandma couldn’t eat off the cob anymore because of her dentures, so she took a paring knife and cut the kernels off the cob and onto her plate. Then she would scrap the ear down to get more pulp from it. Not all the same ‘feels’ as when eating it off the cob, but I know it was still yummy because I now do the same thing myself due to jaw problems.
My sister didn’t eat corn with abandon like my parents and I did. She actually went row-by-row and pulled out each kernel with her teeth. It seemed tedious to me, but I learned how to do it that way when I got older. Not as wasteful as the usual way, no. But not the same tactile pleasure as the usual way either, at least in my opinion.
Making Sweet Memories Live Again
I’m ready to go to the farmer’s market and buy some fresh corn now. I want to shuck corn with my grandma again, even if only in my mind. I want to spread butter on steamy corn and ‘hear’ the lip-smacking sound of my original family enjoying corn on the cob together. I even have a brown paper bag to spread out on the table.
Do you have any special memories about corn on the cob? A funny story maybe? Please share in a comment.
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