Do you remember what it was like when you were a kid, and you wanted something really, really badly? Maybe the item itself was nothing big, but the longing was big. Big enough for a holy grail. Big enough to make you feel all funny inside like you couldn’t take a deep breath until you had it. I felt that way about a lot of things. Barbie accessories, Normandy Rose jeans, Trixie Belden books, Pixy Stix, curly hair–just to name a few.
And corn holders. You know–the little handles you poke into the ends of corn on the cob to make the eating less messy? The yellow ones shaped like little nubby ears of corn? Every time my family ate corn on the cob I sighed over our lack of corn holders. They would make corn so much more fun! And, like so many pointless material possessions, the desire wasn’t really about an actual need for the item itself. It was about an image. They were so cute! And obviously cool families had them. I wanted a cool family of the sort that would casually produce corn holders for all, as if such luxury were a mere trifle—an everyday affair, really.
Well, I never did get my corn holders. And they are exactly the kind of extra junk in my kitchen drawers that would make me shudder now. Besides, I kind of like getting my hands messy when I eat corn. I guess the window of opportunity, when corn holders would have completed my life, has passed.
But I still think corn on the cob, with or without holders, is pretty great. Especially on a peaceful, warm Sunday afternoon. I’d been wanting to try grilling corn in the husk, so I picked up a few ears at the Farmer’s Market. I decided that in the interests of scientific rigor, we should also have a control corn. So I shucked one to go straight on the grill. With the other two, I peeled back the husks without detaching them, and pulled out the silk. I rubbed the corn with a handful of butter, and then returned the husks to their former position, tying them in place at the top with a bit of husk.
Michael put them on the grill, away from direct flame, and turned them periodically for about 20 minutes. The control corn gradually turned golden with a few darker kernels, and the corn in the husks got dry and brown with some charry black on the outside.
When they were done, I stripped the dry husks from the corn. We slathered them in more butter, salted them, and dug in. The control corn was good, although a bit chewy. The corn grilled in the husk was much better. It was tender and juicy, with a slight smoky flavor. Perfect.
Conclusion: corn grilled in the husk rocks.
Sitting on the deck without shoes, eating corn on the cob and watching sailboats on the lake, I have everything my heart desires.