Monday, July 7, 2008
Ears and Eyes
While munching on the first of this year's sweet corn bounty, I wondered why, why do we call corn an "ear"? Who made that decision? Why did they choose ear and not a "leg of corn" or how about a "hand of corn"? The internet rescued me from my musing, and offered up the reason that long ago and far, far away, the Gothic unit of measure word "ahs" came over time to be pronounced "ears". I'm sure other cultures have similar sounding words, but by and large, those lovely golden beauties are called "ears". I don't really care what we call it, as long as I can eat it. There is nothing, I repeat, nothing that says "summer" to me more than fresh corn on the cob. And "on the cob" is how I prefer it. Even my youngest cob, who is missing 3 front teeth, loves to munch on those golden ears. My oldest cob absolutely devours corn with cartoon character efficiency, and can dispatch multiple ears before I even get my napkin in my lap. Picture him, sitting impatiently waiting for everyone to get to the table, then waiting an eternity longer so the prayer can be said, when all he wants to do is e.a.t. Imagine, if you will, the revving engine sound in his head, and the word "amen" at the end of our grace is the starters pistol firing off that he's "good to go". I sometimes sit there in amazement at his eating efficiency. Of course, he takes after his Dad who never ceases to amaze me at the sheer quantity of food required to fuel that man. Of course, hubby man never gains a pound. Grrrrr.
I've made corn all sorts of ways ... boiled, steamed, grilled, etc. ... but my favorite way remains good ol' boiled with a slight post-boil slathering of salted butter. That's it. I get a huge stock pot, fill it about 2/3rds with water, bring it to a rolling boil, carefully drop my clean ears of corn into the pot, bring back to a nice boil, turn it down to a simmer, and let it go for 5-6 minutes. Drain the corn and immediately rub butter on it. Done. That's it. It takes more time cleaning the corn than it does to cook it.
There are so many great varieties of corn, and I like the super sweet corn that's from the Midwest. Growing up in Indiana, even though I grew up in the city, my town was surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of acres of corn, some of it sweet and some of it field corn. My hubby helped his relatives farm when he was growing up, and when we were dating his uncle teased him to be sure to keep his mind on the tractor, combine or whatever it was he was driving and not on that little girl he was dating. (That would have been me!) I remember my not-yet hubby man driving me home from dates on those old country roads where you not only had to avoid crater sized pot holes, but you also had to be aware of mammoth water cannons that the farmers used to water the corn at night. Those things can shoot water great distances and I swear they used unsuspecting passer-by's as targets. The farmers would water at night to combat evaporation, and many a time we'd be driving home after dark, out where the only light was the car head lights, with windows rolled all the way down to escape the summer heat, and then ... out of nowhere ... BAM!!! we'd be soaked with spray from a wayward water cannon. Ah, but we were young and in love and stuff like that made us laugh. I suspect hubby man's vocabulary would be much more colorful if that happened now! Anyway, all sweet corn is great, and this city girl has a soft spot in her heart for all farmers, and a special affinity for those who grow sweet corn.
Eating all that corn was a special treat before heading off on our extended holiday get-away weekend. We loaded up the kids and van and headed up to a lovely town called Leavenworth, WA. It's about 5 hours from our home, but feels like we went to Europe. It's a darling little Bavarian village nestled in a beautiful mountain valley. It's a great spot for us because hubby man gets to go hiking and I get to hang out at the pool. And that's exactly what we did! Hubby man took middle child on an 8 mile hike up to a mountain lake; they had a blast. Oldest and youngest offspring hung out with me at the pool. The resort we were at had it's own mini-movie theater and we saw "Wall-E", went to Wenachee, WA to see the fireworks (great fun), played miniature golf, and the kids hit the arcade where the kids won all sorts of stuff.
One of my son's prizes was this huge helicopter that you launch from a hand held position and it takes off. I have to admit, it's pretty cool. He and his siblings loved it, and they had great fun playing with it. That is ... until ... the unfortunate incident. Long story short, the helicopter is supposed to launch away from you, but in a freak twist of fate, it launched backward and one of the propellers clipped my son's eye. His injury is right where the iris and cornea meet. His guardian angel (actually, I think he must have an entire team of angels) did a great job in that this injury will heal, but he's on "no activity" status ... can't bend over, ride his bike, go swimming, run, play ball, etc.
Basically, he has to wear these protective glasses (which is much better than the patch he had to wear the past 24 hours) and is relegated to the recliner for 5 days. At that time, he'll get his eye rechecked and activity can resume. Poor kid. He's bored, bored, bored ... and has had his fill of pirate jokes. Arggh matey!