Friday, August 26, 2011

Fresh-picked Corn. Yummm.

Last night we picked our first ears of corn from the garden, and yumm, they were good. There's nothing quite like garden fresh vegetables, and double so for fresh-picked corn.

I remember when we were kids growing up in New Jersey, which incidentally is called The Garden State, my dad would stop at a place called Joe's Fruit Farm near Martinsville to pick fresh corn on the way home from work during the harvest season. As far as he was concerned, corn was best when put on the stove within five minutes of picking. That's a good rule in my book. And last night we abided by it.

My dad's dad liked to grow corn, too. But the corn in our garden has nothing to do with my own green thumb. The only time my thumbs are green are when I have been painting using green paint.

Corn is the most widely grown crop in the Americas and it comes in range of varieties. Called "maize" in Mexico (not to be confused with baseball great Willy Mays, though pronounced the same) corn is a staple of the diet there, as opposed to the wheat bread in our country. I once tried to calculate how many corn tortillas were eaten per year in Mexico and it left my head swimming. In most places in Mexico every meal used to be accompanied by tortillas, which served as eating utensil, hot pads, and even napkins.

Today, however, an estimated 40% of the corn grown is used for ethanol, a controversial decision though helpful in keeping the large corn growers' pockets lined with green.

Modern sweet corn can hardly be beat for good eating. The local farmer's markets sell out quickly so you'd best get there early if you want it fresh.

While we're on the topic of corn, I do have one question. Why do they call corny jokes corn? That is, where does that usage of the word corn come from? I understand why they call corns on your feet corns. But how did low caliber humor get called corn? Maybe something to do with corn whiskey causing people to act silly and lose their ability to discern witty humor from stupid stuff? Just trying to work that one out in my head.

Meantime, have a wonderful day and a great weekend.

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