Perhaps one of the most exciting summer-only experiences is when finally (finally) we can tuck into our first ear of corn, hot from the pot or smoky from the grill. Whether it's dripping with butter and sprinkled with salt, or slathered with lime and mayo, the experience is the very definition of summer — especially if it's being eaten outdoors while in wrapped in a towel and wearing a still-damp bathing suit.
The emphasis here, of course, is on "ear of," for we have access to corn kernels from the bag in our freezer year-round. Frozen corn is quite delicious, perfect for tipping into soups and stirring into corn bread, but it's not the same as actually biting into an ear of corn. The posture of grasping still-hot food in our hands and biting into it, leaning forward, elbows on the table, slightly burnt and greasy fingers grasping each end is actually a little thrilling, touching on the primitive.
And the sensation of biting into the cob — teeth scraping the surface, kernels exploding, salt and fat hitting the palate followed by the sweetness of corn — is truly singular. No other food found on this vast green planet can be substituted for an ear of corn eaten in summer.
Like tomatoes, we have access to corn grown out of season and flown up from the other hemisphere, but why bother? On every account, the experience will disappoint.
The secret is to wait until summer and then eat fresh corn every day until you just can't anymore. You may be astonished at how long it will take to grow sick of it; indeed, it may never happen.
A Short Guide to Corn on the Cob
Here are some sensational corn on the cob methods and toppings to keep you in corn deliciousness until the last ear is plucked from the stalk and rushed to the fire.
- 5 Tips for Proper Grocery Store Corn Etiquette
- How to Grill Corn on the Cob
- How to Boil Corn on the Cob
- How to Microwave Corn on the Cob
- How to Make Elote, Mexican Street Corn (my favorite way to eat corn on the cob, after butter and salt)
- A Dozen Delicious One-Ingredient Toppings (more ways support your corn on the cob habit)