Here it is August already, and I have not posted a word about corn on the cob, the quintessential summer vegetable (remember, tomatoes are officially fruit). Both the Thursday and the Saturday farmers markets have been selling corn for well over a month, but I haven't paid tribute to those wonderful ears of sweetness.
Growing up, I remember helping my mother husk a couple of dozen ears of corn for our large family. The kitchen would grow even more hot and humid while the spaghetti pot simmered, waiting for us to plunge the ears into the deep water at precisely the right moment. Back then, we cooked corn for at least ten minutes, and we would only pull enough corn from the pot for one ear per person, letting the rest keep warm on the stove. We'd slather on butter and shake enough salt on top to induce an immediate heart attack, and then we would attack the corn, letting the toppings drip onto our plates. Messy? Yes. Delicious? Without a doubt.
A few years ago, I had oral surgery in late June. The doctor gave me a list of foods to avoid. Apples, not to hard to give up during stone-fruit season. Gum, not too hard for a teacher to resist. Caramels, a little harder. Salt-water taffy, a test of my will power. Corn on the cob, sheer torture. He said that I could cut the corn OFF the cob, but what is the point of that? I mean, seriously, if I were a political prisoner, that would violate the Geneva Conventions. I must confess that since I wasn't allowed to eat corn on the cob, I didn't buy corn on the cob, and I didn't cook corn on the cob. Call me cruel, but I could not face that temptation without succumbing.
This evening, I'm going to put about an inch of water in my wok, add a smidgen of sugar, and bring it to a boil while I husk the corn. As soon as the water hits a full boil, I'm going to drop the corn into the pot, put on the lid, and let it steam just until the kernels change color. In August, the corn is so sweet and so tender and so wonderful that it doesn't need butter or salt. But if you can't help yourself, go ahead. Indulge. After all, summer--at least corn on the cob--doesn't last very long.
My question for you: Do you eat your corn across or around the cob? Please let me know. I'll post the results the week of August 21.