Corn is the largest crop grown in the U.S. - 332 million metric tons, 40% of which is used for corn ethanol. Humans have been cultivating corn for thousands of years with its height beginning at about 1500 B.C. Corn came into the US Southwest, the migrated to the US Northeast and up into Canada.
Corn and cornmeal are staples of many diets across the world. As a thick porridge in Italy (polenta), Brazil (angu), Romania (mămăligă), and the US (with cornmeal mush) and in the South with grits (made from hominy). For those of you not fortunate enough to have grown up in the South, you must remember that grits are a breakfast staple. I cannot tell you how excited I was to find grits in downtown Oakland when I started working there - and not just grits, but perfectly prepared grits - heaven.
|Hush Puppies with honey butter at Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen - Berkeley, CA|
Corn is the main ingredient for lots of breads that aren't made with wheat - cornbread, tortillas, atole - the list goes on. Cornbread is also a staple in a Southern diet and is NOT made with sugar. Ever. Okay, some people make it with sugar, but I consider that a heresy. I know, doctrinaire - don't start me on BBQ (I am of the Memphis sect).
|Jiffy-Pop! Totally unnecessary product, but traditional at slumber parties in my day.|
Corn has an evil side, too. Don't believe me? Read The Ominvore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan - you'll never look at corn in the same way again. It's in almost every processed food we eat with high fructose corn syrup being high on the list of unhealthy additives. In some ways, corn has colonized us as much as we have it.
|Corn on the Cob|
You rinse it off with husk and silk attached. Place in the microwave on the carousel or on a large platter, uncovered. Here are cooking times:
1 ear - 2 min.
1 ear (small oven) - 3 min.
2 ears - 5 min.
2 ears (small oven) - 8 min.
4 ears - 9 min.
6 ears - 14 min.
Be careful when you take the corn out of the microwave to husk - it'll be very very hot. I usually use a folded dish towel to help me survive the heat. Just peel down the husk and silk to the stem and cut it off with knife. Serve with butter and eat and eat and eat.
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