Indulge me. I am locked in my annual sweet corn battle with my husband and I need to vent.
Growing up in the Platte Valley of Nebraska learned a few things about farming, seasons, and when the hell you eat sweet corn. My husband (a barnacled coastie from Gloucester who has an umbilical cord that won’t reach over the bridge and wouldn’t know a farm implement if it rolled over his foot) thinks sweet corn is pretty much available 24/7, 365. Consequently, he started bringing home this “stuff” from the local grocery stores in May, crowing about how this is going to be a “good batch” and asks me EVERY NIGHT IF I WANT SOME CORN ON THE COB. Every night I say NO I DO NOT WANT YOUR FAKIE, TASTELESS YELLOW JUNK. Does he stop? No. Does he give up? No. Will this be the cause of his death someday? Highly likely.
I have an almost religious fervor for authentic sweet corn. Even the proper way to cook it is a bone of contention at our house. Joe boils (yes, boils) his fake yellow pellets-on-a-cob while the chicken is still on the grill. I am serious. I am not making that up. I explained how the water should be simmering and everyone seated at the supper table before you even SHUCK the corn, but my vast experience is lost on him. It is apparently his culture; it seems to be a big problem out here because I see people at the grocery store shucking their sweet corn AT THE STORE and then putting it in their nasty produce bag to cart it up to the register. This effectively starts the dehydration process before they even pay for the corn, insuring by the time they reach home it is suitable for feed corn (that’s for animals, people) and nothing else. Let it sit in the frig for a few days before you cook it and….well, I can’t even go there.
One of the last times my parents flew out here was in August, about the time of the Perseid meteor showers. I remember when I went to Logan Airport to pick them up I saw them come off the plane with luggage and nothing else. I shrieked, “Dad, you didn’t bring sweet corn????” He stopped, turned to my Mother and said, “You know, we drove past all those farm stands on the way to the airport (180 plus miles) and we didn’t think to, did we?” I wanted to turn around and leave them both at the airport.
I recently found the blog of a classmate who talks about living and working a farming operation in 2011. It is unlike anything many of you would imagine. His Platte Valley Farmer blog gave me a huge lump in my throat. It brought back so many memories, made me terribly homesick, and positively despair over ever tasting proper sweet corn again. I’ve pretty much given up on consistent sweet corn it out here – every store in town calls it “local corn” WEEKS before anything planted locally could be ready to eat.
At least now can visit my friend’s blog, watch the corn grow and learn more about how positively amazing the science of farming has evolved. Every August I enjoy looking back on the night of the Persieds with my parents, my mom’s peach pie & cobbler, and pretend that on that mid-August night we perfected the evening with some authentic and buttery fresh sweet corn.
PS – The next time Joe tries to get me to eat his impostor sweet corn I am going to buy a really expensive piece of fish, boil it, cover it with ketchup and serve it to him for supper. Maybe then he’ll get my point.