Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday Memories on Tuesday - Corn Fed

We stopped to get layer mash at the feed store this afternoon.  It had jumped $5 a bag.  The feed man said that with the drought in the Midwest corn is now going for $300 a ton.  

You know what that means?  

a.  Our chickens are going to have to learn to eat dog food.
b.  Levin and I are worth our weight in gold. 
c.  Pharaoh's dream has a sequel.  
d.  All of the above.

Levin and Cali are spending the week here while Ray is traveling.
It was my pleasure to introduce Levin to corn on the cob.

I shared this memory in a newsletter once before:

A few years ago Cali and I sat on the patio swing husking sweet corn. As she pulled the husks back she said, “Oh, I so hope I find a caterpillar in one of the ears.” I laughed and reminded her of the year she ruined hundreds of ears of corn in our garden as she walked down the rows pulling the husks back collecting caterpillars. She remembered her collection well.

Corn is a multifunctional vegetable and next to potatoes, my favorite. Calvin says it’s a phenomenon to watch me eat it as he’s never seen anyone eat it as fast and intently. I have tried to explain that growing up with twelve family members at the table there was bound to only be so many good ears in the bowl and if you wanted more than one, you had to hurry and finish your cob before anyone else. It was survival of the fittest.

One August, Calvin’s folks were visiting from Arizona. My mother-in-law got out of the car with a sack of fresh corn on the cob, the first of the season. Seeing it, I panicked. I didn’t want her to know that I have even less control with corn than potatoes (she’s dismayed at the number of potatoes I can eat). I knew the easiest thing would be to not eat any corn that night, for eating none is easier than one. However, not eating corn ran the risk of offending her; my in-laws were justifiably proud of their garden and to refuse their corn would have been worse than eating too much of it.

As we sat down to eat supper, I thought. “Go easy on the potatoes. Eat slow because you can only have one ear of corn. Eat real slow; put the cob down every two bites and eat something else. Eat slow.” 

We passed the food, first the meatloaf, then the potatoes, followed by the rolls, and finally, the corn. I shouldn’t have worried, I was in control. I ate just like I’d told myself and stopped at one ear.

Ty was sitting across the table from me that night, next to Grandma. As the meal neared its end, he looked across the table at me and said, “What’s the matter mom? How come you didn’t eat corn tonight like you usually do?”

Before I could give him the look, he turned to his grandma and boasted, “You should see my mom really eat corn. She can eat more corn faster than anyone we know.” Calvin only made it worse.  He goading the rest of the kids into telling Grandma how I really eat corn. My family was so proud of their corn-fed momma. My mother-in-law was not impressed.

Corn season reminds me of when I was young. It meant the arrival of Aunt Cleo. She was an unsainted saint, for she arrived late in the summer for a week—just in time to help mom freeze over four hundred cups of corn. The “little kids” were sent to the cornfield with gunny sacks to pick while Aunt Cleo and mom cleared the cupboards and started the water to boil. Once our gunny sacks were full we took them home, shucked the ears, and carried the golden corn into mom, Aunt Cleo, and the “big kids” where they began blanching, cooling, cutting, and bagging the corn. It was a big job, but we ate it all winter long.  

What with all those memories is it any wonder I love corn?

Grandpa thought it best if he taught Levin how to eat corn properly.
I'll give him speed lessons another day.


Deidra said...

I took pictures of Millie with her corn cobs this week, too. Though she has one in each hand, so she either eats like her Papa Parish, or you (a very similar style).

That stinking drought.

Cassidy said...

Levin's going to think he'll never get it right if he doesn't have a mustache. :)
I was wondering how the corn prices would be with this drought we are having. It is bad. You should see the poor fields.
That corn looks yuuuummmmyyyy.

Ande said...

Good thing you taught us early. I'm a fantastic corn eater. I'm sure Levin will be too. Those pictures are so cute.

Tiffany Fackrell said...

The corn fields in the Midwest look really really sad. I love corn, and I love freezing it. Im sad I wont be doing it for this winter. Unless I can find a cheap hookup, but that isnt looking promising. However here in Knoxville it has rained almost everyday.

melanie said...

This is one of my favorite stories. That Ty!

Dealing photos.

Becky said...

We love corn! Jeff's Dad works for Pioneer Seed company and he has fond memories of being in the corn fields with his dad and eating good sweet corn.

I grew up going every year to the church-owned corn fields to pick ears of corn. It was an assignment and we would go out early, early in the morning and pick for hours. When we were done they would let the adults buy the "extras" for a good price and then we would go home and my siblings and I would sit on the back porch, shuckin' corn while my Mom blanched it.

Good memories!

michelle said...

That is an awesome story!

I heard this week on This American Life that great stories happen to those who can tell them.