Keep your hands to yourself

What worm?

What worm?

I stopped by Sandy’s farm stand (behind the old Fjord Fisheries on River Road) to pick up the freshest corn in town and she thanked me for not shucking the corn as I grabbed it, and discarding half. People who do that, she told me, destroy its value – no one wants someone else’s reject – and it “breaks her heart” to see them at it. She doesn’t stop them because so many people do it but really, it’s totally unnecessary and wasteful (which means it costs all of us), so stop it.

When I used to grow my own corn and each ear was precious I never examined it in the field and threw any on the ground because it didn’t measure up. Since moving down from corn growing country and into the land of supermarkets I’ve watched in amazement as women spend fifteen minutes rooting through a pile of corn like porcine gourmets, peeling back each ear as though giving it a short arm inspection and then tossing it back on the pile. What the hell are you looking for, ladies? Worms? I’ve probably encountered a dozen, at most, in fifty years of eating corn. They stay at the tip so if you find one, whack off an inch of cob and boil away. Same thing if the very tip is missing a few rows of kernels – so what? snap it off or just ignore it – it tastes just as good and buying corn is transformed from a long ordeal to a simple task. You must have better things to do with your time, and the vendors will bless you for it.


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6 responses to “Keep your hands to yourself

  1. Old School Grump

    You’re right, guy! The corn is good, or it isn’t good, but in either case the tell does NOT lie in the tip-of-the-ear flaws (or lack of flaws) that can be detected this way.

    In my wasted youth we’d buy corn at the farmstands on the way back from the beach that was so good it was at its best if eaten raw. Hope there’s still corn like that in the Long Island Sound environs.

  2. Anonymous

    The corn I bought at Sandy’s last Sunday was the best of the season so far: outstanding, the most heavenly sweet corn-on-the-cob from her Cos Cob stand.

    And I just got word that Sandy has managed to obtain a batch of Canadian strawberries this weekend. I’ve never tried Canadian berries before, so I googled them and found tributes like this:

    “Unlike their overgrown American cousins bred specially for travelling great distances, Canadian strawberries are delicate, small fruits — red right down to the core. Sweet and juicy, they scream taste. And new hybrids and old heirloom varieties assure us a crop well into September.”

    I’m hightailing it down to Sandy’s tomorrow before the restaurant chefs get there and run her out of them.

  3. christopherfountain

    I hate to think my describing the shucking ladies as performing a short arm inspection was wasted but so far, not a single comment. Sigh. Pearls before swine.

  4. cos cobber

    Thanks for shopping in cos cob.

  5. One of my biggest grocery store pet peeves. It’s awful. The corn so handled gets dried out, and there was never anything wrong with it to begin with that snapping an inch off wouldn’t have cured, as you point out. I hope to have better luck at the farm stand today than I usually have at the grocery store, but who knows.

    P.S. I don’t know what a short arm inspection is. If Google’s results are to be believed, though, it’s the kind of thing I don’t want to think about as associated with my corn.

  6. Old Coot

    Hadn’t heard the term “short arm inspection” for many years. Thanks for the chuckle.