If Mr. Armitage were to dine with the Servetus family any night this week

Drawing on earlier posts about my own American regional foodscapes and what we’d offer the man who really likes food if he happened by for supper, I’ll mention that this is what he’d get if he were here tonight, because it’s one of the meals I love most in the world.

The main course: sweet corn (as we call it, to distinguish it from field corn) cooked on the cob. We usually make 8 ears per adult at the table, depending on the size of the ear, because it will only be here for a few weeks, and then we have to eat what we were able to freeze of the rest of it, but we’re pretty serious gluttons because we only eat it off the cob when we can make it according to the recipe below. No grilled sweet corn for the Servetus family, or even worse: ears purchased in the supermarket. Heresy! If Mr. Armitage told us he was coming, we’d pick just as many ears for him as he liked to eat. (That number is the kind of thing folks around here know.) If he didn’t want to eat it on the cob, I bet my mom would even slice it off for him, though to me that reduces the fun of getting the butter all over your cheeks when you eat it. (Maybe he wouldn’t even want any! For example, in my experience, this is kind of hard sell dish for Germans, because they don’t think of Mais as a warm main dish food — mainly as something to scatter cold over a salad or a pizza.)

Recipe: after you’ve sliced your tomatoes and sausage (see below) and every other part of the meal is ready to go, fill your biggest kettle with water and turn it on to boil. (If more than four are present you may need two kettles.) Set the table. When the water is almost boiling, go out the back door to the garden, flailing with your arms to ward off mosquitoes. Remind yourself that the compost needs stirring. Pick your way down a couple different rows of sweet corn, swatting at the bugs and making sure that you have some really ripe pieces for dad and some just barely ripe pieces for mom and yourself. (The Servetus parents time the planting so it doesn’t all ripen simultaneously.) Pause to look at the dragonfly zooming past and get bitten by a mosquito. Realize how annoyed you are that you forgot to put on long pants. Sit outside on the stoop and shuck the corn as quickly as possible. Go back in the back door; by now the lid(s) should be rattling wildly on the kettle(s). We don’t put anything in the water except the corn (some people put sugar, but if you are picking the corn as the water is boiling, the sugar in it won’t have converted to starch yet when you cook it, so it will be more than sweet enough on its own). Cook until just tender, usually no more than 3 minutes if the water is really boiling hard. I suggest taking out two ears per person for a starter portion, draining the rest and leaving it in the kettle so that the corn will stay warm. It will keep cooking for awhile even after you drain it so make sure not to overcook. 

Serving tips: Put salt, pepper and butter that you let soften slightly in advance on the table for each to take as s/he pleases. I like just butter, but my family eats salted butter. Listen to your parents reminisce about how much better the meal was when they were eating it with the butter they churned themselves, which they haven’t done since at least 1959, and which you can bet they bitterly complained about at the time. Debate vociferously whether it is better to chew a straight row down the ear, or in repeating circles, and about whether it is more polite to butter the corn with a knife or just plop down a square of it on your plate and roll the ear in it. Decide these are both adiaphora, but agree that people who need those little corn skewers inserted into the side of their ear of corn are wimps. Make sure everyone has either a cloth napkin or a lot of paper toweling available for cleanup. Pile the debris back on the platter. Youngest present takes the gnawed-clean ears out to the compost, not neglecting to pick up the husks as s/he goes. 

We always eat this with one particular vegetable side dish: tomato slices prepared from tomatoes from our garden.

Recipe: This is really easy. Pick ripe tomatoes, allowing them to sit on the kitchen counter for a day if necessary next to other almost ready tomatoes. This dish is best, though, if you use a nice juicy tomato variety rather than something like a Roma, which has been bred for more meat and less juice. Plus points for heirloom tomatoes, though my parents are not into that and just buy seedling plants from a nursery and put them in. Slice in thick slices with a serrated knife and lay flat on a platter. My grandparents and parents like granulated sugar sprinkled over the tomatoes but over the years I’ve convinced them to serve the slices unseasoned so they can put sugar on theirs and I can put pepper on mine. Obviously if you’ve lived in Europe you know these are also great with balsamico and oil, but I would never dare put that on the table here! When these are gone put the empty platter in a safe place so that you can slurp up the juices while you’re cleaning up the kitchen after the meal. 

And for protein, to keep up those Porter muscles, or as my mom would say, so you have something that will stick to your ribs: as many slices as he’d like of venison summer sausage. We eat a lot of venison because my dad and brother both usually get multiple crop damage permits, and because we’re not in extreme Up North, most of the deer they harvest are eating field corn, so the taste is still definitely lean and gamy, but not so strong as the venison from extreme Up North. This means our sausage is not so fatty because we don’t have to cut it with an overwhelming proportion of fatty pork (the usual choice around here) or beef (the Servetus family preference) to make it edible. I won’t explain how to make sausage here except to note that like most people of central European descent we prefer a relatively finely ground meat grain and lots of pepper and mustard seed in ours, but not so much that you can’t taste the venison! Our preference is also not for a true summer sausage (i.e., one that can survive without refrigeration) but a moister variety that has to be kept frozen or refrigerated after smoking.

If we happen to have some handy or leftover, my mom might also put some fresh curd on the table with this meal. Sometimes if she has to go out in the morning on Saturdays she buys some from the cheese factory where her father use to sell his milk. We all love it! Frankly, though, by evening fresh curd has lost its squeak, and we would almost never eat this meal for dinner as we don’t consider it filling enough. (Also because sometimes more corn is ripe than we can eat and then we freeze it right away, and the heat from blanching is less oppressive in the evenings than during the afternoon.) This is an exclusive supper offering.

If we have any room left after gorging on all this bounty, and my dad remembered to stop off at a truck stand, we might have slices of extremely ripe musk melon or canteloupe for dessert. We like it so ripe that if you waited until tomorrow to eat it, it would be spoiled.  I think it comes from Kentucky or somewhere. This is the only part of this quintessential Servetus family August meal we don’t produce ourselves — you can grow a melon up here but it’s a pain and they are just starting to get ripe now. Melons are really vulnerable to early freezes. If my dad is going to put that much effort into growing something he’d rather it be pumpkins — he’s got a 300 pounder out there on the vine now, and my nieces are already jumping up and down to see how much bigger it can get, because they’ve seen a picture of their daddy as a five-year-old sitting inside a pumpkin that grandpa grew.

I am sure I’m channeling all this emotion about my hometown at the moment because I have to start my drive back South tomorrow, and because emotions have been running high for most of the summer. I’ve never been really attached to my hometown; I left when I graduated from high school and I never really looked back. And yet it all seems strangely beautiful to me at the moment.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long
.”

~ by Servetus on August 18, 2010.

120 Responses to “If Mr. Armitage were to dine with the Servetus family any night this week”

  1. 😀 That’s for the whole post but especially the last line.

    I can taste that corn. LOL! And if you ever get to my neck of the woods, there is an area around here known for its “sweet corn.”

    Thank you for that post! I’m now imagining RA at our dinner table. 😀 He would probably get flautas or chile rellenos, guacamole, of course rice and beans, chips, homemade salsa and homemade flour tortillas. I have a cast iron griddle that is ONLY for making tortillas. I will do bodily damage to anyone at our house who tries to use it for something else. 😀

    Of course we would eat on the deck as we eat outside every chance we get. Usually there is some music playing somewhere. Thankfully, my neighbors don’t mind our stereo going outside. I don’t know what I would do if my neighbors weren’t understanding, and there’s no telling what he might hear. Could be Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Coldplay, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn, Debussy, Wagner, or maybe even a little Eminem. Not to mention all of the indie artists we love. He could name it and we’ve probably got it. I feel sure he would love eating outside since we live on the side of a “mountain” (aka very large hill) which overlooks our town and part of the valley where we live. I don’t mind saying that it is beautiful, and people are usually overcome when they enter our yard for the first time. I hate to admit sometimes I forget how beautiful it is, but I love to see it again through someone else’s eyes, and how cool would that be to witness RA’s reaction to it.

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    • Thanks for your kind words — glad you didn’t think a little Shakespeare was too much to garnish a post on sweet corn, tomatoes and venison sauage.

      We ate on the deck tonight, too, but my parents have only had a deck for the last two years or so. Chiles rellenos were sort of second on my list for what I’d offer Mr. Armitage if he came to Texas (after tortilla soup), mostly because they take more effort to make and I was writing during finals week 🙂

      So looking forward to tacos made with fresh tortillas when I get “home” at the end of the week. MMMM.

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      • You guys are making me hungry for some good Tex-Mex. We have relatives that live in Texas, in the San Antonio and Fort Worth areas . . . Spouse loves Mexican and Italian foods, which we didn’t really eat growing up (all that good southern fare, of course).

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    • Oh, and no scene view from our deck — just 40 years of my parents planting trees so that the house is completely shielded from view. It’s pretty, though. Most of all, it’s home.

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      • That’s it, isn’t it? It’s home. And as Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home . . .”

        I live within walking distance of the red brick farm house where I grew up, so I am surrounded by memories, very bittersweet now that both my parents are gone.

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        • To quote N&S: “try as we might, happy as we were, we can’t go back …”.

          I’m trying to get my mom to share some of her memories about things with me, but it’s a bit of a struggle. She doesn’t always get why I am interested in the details.

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          • Well, don’t give up on that, Servetus. The older I get, the more I realise I need to know about my family’s past.

            When my father died, one of the most precious things for me was all the people who came up at his visitation and told us stories about Daddy when he was a boy and a young man.
            One of the most precious was a lovely lady who later became my mom’s roommate at the nursing home.
            “I used to ride the school bus with your daddy, and there was a boy who picked on me, and your daddy would come and sit with me to make sure that other boy left me alone . . .” My dad, the raw-boned farm boy with a chivalrous side. I loved that.

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      • Your home sounds wonderful!

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        • We like it. 🙂 Yours does to. I am a flatlander but I can appreciate the possibilities of a mountain view!

          When my parents built this house it was literally in the middle of a cornfield, and they worked really hard for four decades to improve it. I really resented the work as a child and I worry about how they’ll be able to keep up with it all that much longer — but I really admire the way they realized their project and it is pretty.

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  2. Ah, Servetus, this takes me back. Growing up on a farm (I now live in that farm’s pecan orchard), my parents had a big garden. My number one favorite item: a fresh-from-vine tomato, still warm from the sun.

    To this day, just give me a salt shaker and a knife and leave me alone. Due to some dental issues (veneers) I can’t safely eat corn on the cob anymore, but, oh–I haven’t forgotten how delicious that sweet corn was slathered generously with butter.

    My favorite meals were the ones from the farm: crispy golden fried chicken from our poultry houses; pink-eyed purple hull peas, sliced tomatoes, Irish (as opposed to sweet) potatoes, thinly sliced and fried crispy and golden brown, butter (lima) beans . . . a generous hunk of corn bread on the side and a tall glass of sweet tea to wash it all down. Thinking back, we ate so very, very well. Oh, perhaps not always healthy, but so delicious and yes, stick to your ribs.

    Interesting how, when coming back to a place we left behind long ago, it seems to change before our eyes — and often for the better. A lovely quote, too.

    Something much less poetic popped into my head: “Memories, like the corners of my mind, misty water-colored memories, of the way we were . . . was it all so simple then, or has time re-written every line? If we could do it all again, tell me–would we? Could we? . . .”

    I do think Mr. Armitage would like this sort of rib-sticking American food. He seems the sort. *Grin*

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    • There is nothing like vine ripe tomato slices with some salt and pepper, and hey, the guy’s from England, so he would probably adore it. If my mother were preparing the meal, he would get that plus traditional Southern greens (probably a mixture of collard, mustard and turnip) with fatback. Whatever it would be, there would be enough for pot “likker,” and there would also be field peas or butter beans and certainly some okra and buttermilk cornbread to top it off. No meat because with all of that would there be any need for meat? And hey, the fatback is enough. 😀 On second thought, some meatloaf might be good or some smothered venison. This is making me really homesick for my mother’s cooking.

      @Servetus, I’m going to disagree with you about the Roma. A great beefstake can’t be beat! LOL!

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      • You’re right, RAF, you really don’t need meat with that garden goodness going. And sometimes we didn’t and I was perfectly happy. But Mama did know how to fry up a good bird so that it was beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. Meatloaf . . . uhmmm, with my Mama’s creamed (not mashed, but creamed to perfection in the mixer) potatoes–grand comfort food. I sure miss my sweet southern mama and all those good meals we used to enjoy. Ahhhhh . . . good memories.
        And a beefsteak is absolutely yummy. *sigh*

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      • On the meat question: my mom always sighs disapprovingly in a setting with fried chicken and sweet corn because “that’s two main dishes.” She thinks the corn and butter should really be enough, and the sausage plate is always the most meager one on the table. There’s also a variant of this meal for times when my dad only got one deer and didn’t have much meat to make sausage with, so we’d have run out of sausage by August and then we’d have cottage cheese as the protein. That’s fine, but my preference is to eat the cottage cheese with the very ripe tomatoes (or extremely ripe peaches), so I didn’t refer to that here as it would always distract from the corn, which is supposed to be the centerpiece.

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      • Tomatoes may be adiaphora. However, I prefer mine really, really juicy!

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        • Oh, I had a couple of slices of vine-ripened tomato on my ham and cheese sandwich tonight after a long day at work, and those slices were juicy and dripping right out of the “samich” . . . it was great!

          Don’t tell anybody, but I have been known to surreptitiously lick the juice out of the plate after all the slices are eaten . . . *blushes*

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          • Totally. That’s why you hide the serving platter from the tomatoes when you take it off the table and then volunteer to clean the kitchen, so you can lick it clean without any competition.

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            • *giggle* Right there with you.

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            • LOL! at cleaning the kitchen. Some of my fondest memories are of family get togethers where I “had to” help clean up afterward.

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              • I was the youngest and, maybe because they were afraid I would break stuff washing dishes, I don’t know, but I usually ended up on “putting away” duty. Putting the leftovers into smaller containers, scraping plates for the canines . . . always convenient for sneaking an extra bit of something good.

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    • I was saying to my mom earlier today that it’s impossible to believe everything here is as innocent as it seems. Well, it’s not the big city. People call it “the Happy Valley” in an ironic tone, sometimes.

      I was also saying to her that I think this kind of eating eventually made me a very adventurous, hearty eater — being exposed to a lot of contrasting tastes with a lot of variety. It was good preparation for becoming a foodie, later. It is the best kind of eating, I think.

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      • People have sometimes remarked on how the community where I went to school and where I now work has a Mayberry-like quality to it. Of course, we have crime, we have drugs, we have domestic violence–all the things that happen in the big, bad world. But all in all, there is something really–good about it. A sense of community, hospitality, where morals and values are still prized . . . a great place to grow up and to raise a family.

        And, as someone who lived away for a number of years in larger towns and cities, I think I appreciate it in ways those who have never left can’t. It’s not perfect and never was; but I am certainly glad to claim it as my hometown (BTW, it was actually named “Best Small Town in America a few years ago).

        I love trying different types of foods, too. I still laugh when I think of people’s expressions in South Dakota when Benny would tell them he’d brought back some boiled peanuts.
        What?! Huh?!

        Fortunately (or unfortunately, for my waistline and cholesterol numbers) spouse is also a fantastic cook, especially of desserts. Man makes killer cheesecakes . . . and homemade chocolate-covered cherries. *sigh*

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        • SO and I both grew up in major cities, but our parents were from very small towns. That’s why we knew a little about the country but not much. Neither of us had lived anywhere rural until we moved where we are now. SO’s dad was airforce for the first several years of SO’s life and then he worked with FAA all over the country, so they lived a few places but never anywhere small. The first thing we noticed here is that we could leave the windows open at night. I don’t care where you live in the cities where we grew up, you can’t do that unless there is a lot of security on the window. The people around here take this freedom for granted. That’s one thing I’ve never forgotten to appreciate. At night when I go to bed, I love that I can hear the entire neighborhood. It’s a peaceful feeling to think of most everyone in their bedrooms with their windows open and hearing the same dogs and rustling of wildlife. Depending on the time of year, it’s not uncommon for deer to be in the neighborhood and occasionally bear if it’s a bad year for foraging. I have a big choke cherry tree in the back yard, and if I don’t get them picked, the dear will beat me to them, and I can never put my trash out early for fear a bear will try to rummage in it. What I don’t like here are the rattlers. The people next door killed a rattler in their yard last week. I HATE THIS! What is so hilarious is that SO swore he would never live where there was snow more than a couple of days a year, and I swore I would never live near poisonous snakes. Well, here we are. LOL!

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          • Listen, I love the wildlife around here in general: fox, squirrels, deer, turtles, turkey, quail, the occasional bobcat . . . but I could live without the coyotes (their howls curdle my blood) and SNAKES! Spouse has killed three good-sized rattlers this summer in my late parents’ yard and in between the farmhouse and our home on the hill.

            Daddy was bitten by a rattler when I was a child and I will never forget how his arm swelled and turned black before my eyes . . .

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            • I’ve had to put the fear of God into my ten year old so she won’t get into any tall grass, and the baby rattlers are the worst. We’ve drilled our kids on what they look like. I hope it keeps them safe.

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              • Good for you. A vivid memory of my childhood is a rattler appearing in the yard while we girls were out playing. Our housekeeper came running when she heard our cries, grabbed a hoe and proceeded to chop that snake to bits. I always felt safer when Celestine was around . . .
                our yard has grown up because we just got some much-needed rains and poor Benny with his staph infection hasn’t been able to get out and cut it. I find myself looking around very carefully when I am out there. I’m afraid I am of the opinion the only good snake is a dead snake. Intellectually, I know many snakes are harmless and beneficial to the environment; but my gut reaction is to kill them all.

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          • What I really appreciate is the silence of rural life. When I get here it is so quiet I can hear my heart beat when I lie down in bed.

            Could live without the wildlife but that’s the price you pay. No snakes up here. My major dislike is the rustling in the walls or roof that indicates rodent wildlife of some kind (field mice, squirrels, etc.) in the house. Uch.

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            • I grew up with the peace and quiet of the country and have come full circle back to it. I find I need a certain amount of solitude in my life as does Spouse. Now, if we are in the mood to put on some rockin’ music and turn it full blast, we can do that, too, as our only neighbors are the afore-mentioned wildlife.

              Some days when I am at home I never turn on the TV or radio; right now, we have the steady hum of the A/C going (it’s “cooled down” to the mid-90s) but in more temperate weather I enjoy listening to birdsong and the sound of the wind blowing through the tall pines, pecans and oaks. I have lived in large urban areas and I like to visit them for all the amenities I can’t find here, but I am a country girl at heart.
              Oh, and our cats are wonderful little field mice catchers (a problem we have).

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        • He must also like curvy women 🙂

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          • He does, thank goodness, although my Bad Knee and Even Worse Knee have been telling me lately a few less curves would be most welcome . . .
            Still, it’s gratifying to have him pat my substantial backside with such obvious affection, bless his heart. And, hey, the extra cushioning means I have very, very few wrinkles! *grin*

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  3. I have been eating a lot of corn on the cob lately as well as tomatoes too! There’s nothing better than fresh veggies from the garden. My cousin from southern Ontario brought up a huge bag of corn when she came to visit and we had several good feeds of it.
    Last night all I wanted for supper was a BLTC (Bacon, lettuce, tomato and cheese) sandwich, toasted of course and don’t hold the mayo! We also have some deer sausage in our freezer, waiting for the next BBQ. Bon appetit!

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    • Ooooh, BLTs. Phylly3!! That’s my central food memory associated with my maternal grandmother. Mmmmm. Mmmmmm. Definitely toasted, definitely plenty of mayo. Lettuce also fresh from the garden. Mmmmm.

      I don’t know if my folks ever made venison bratwurst — I should ask them. We always ate pork sausage, at least in my memory. Maybe because the fat quotient in the venison was too low? I’ll have to check this out.

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      • Once the tomatoes were ripe this year, one of the first things we enjoyed were BLTs. It’s sort of a yearly ritual. Yes, bread must be toasted and well mayoed.

        We only ever had pork sausage–my dad was not a hunter, so venison was not something I grew up eating. It’s very big around here, however, as this area is a bit of a hunting mecca.

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  4. I’m alternating between this thread and “The Iliac Crest.” My subconscious says there’s a connection. My conscious won’t accept that, but I beginning to let my sub take over a bit now and then. LOL!

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    • the only one I can think of is a negative one — like if you ate like this too often your iliac crest might be negatively impacted?

      it’s the butter that gets you 🙂

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      • I know I have an iliac crest, but it’s gone into hiding.
        That’s why it’s so important for me to properly appreciate RA’s. Since I can’t seem to find mine.

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        • LOL you got me checking up on mine 🙂 I still dare to wear a bikini as long as I’m standing up. It’s when I sit down I have to cover-up..

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          • I do believe my bikini days are permanently over. My swell of flesh doth swell too much, methinks.
            I am going on a cruise with hubby next month (combined 50th birthday/belated 25th anniversary celebration) and debating on whether or not to take a one-piece swimsuit . . . of course, there were some individuals I saw on the cruise a couple of years ago who were seriously letting it all hang out! LOL

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  5. All this talk about food is making me hungry… again! We had corn on the cob with nearly every meal last week (my father-in-law brought a big sack over) and I thought I was going to get sick of it, but no way. (Now it’s gone and I want more.) It has always been one of my faves. I’ve been craving fruits and veggies like crazy.

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    • I bought a big bag of Olathe corn earlier today. We’ll eat it tomorrow night, so that picture above really got to me. Aren’t you glad you’re craving fruits and veggies instead of ice cream and candy bars. LOL!

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      • Who said I wasn’t craving ice cream too? I’m currently fighting an addiction to homemade banana splits.

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        • Can that count as a fruit? 🙂

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        • Well, banana is a fruit. Isn’t it? 😕

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          • Dang right. I better go have some more “fruit” right now then! 😉

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            • potassium is also good to prevent bruising.

              Oh, Natalie, I feel your pain. But the way you write about your hunger is always so amusing! 🙂

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              • Servetus,

                Have you ever had Blue Bell ice cream? I was first introduced to it on a visit to our relatives in Texas a number of years ago. They sell it in Alabama now, and I am firmly convinced the devil invented it.

                Their homemade vanilla is the closest thing to my mom’s custard-based homemade-in-the-freezer ice cream of my childhood that you can now get “store bought.”

                I haven’t had any of their flavors I didn’t like, but I am particularly partial to Moo-llenium Crunch(vanilla with chunks of dark chocolate, caramel, with almonds, pecans and walnuts), Southern Blackberry Cobbler, Banana Pudding and Summer Berries.

                Ohhhhh—-yummmmmmmm!

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          • bananas are chock full of potassium, which is excellent for fighting leg cramps, which are a common problem for those of us with Restless Legs Syndrome. Ergo, a banana split, which would also have lots of calcium to build strong teeth and bones, is practically health food! (Why do I sense my doctor would disagree??)

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  6. I was just thinking . . . you know, there are people out there who never get to enjoy fresh veggies and fruit. All they know is processed, packaged foodstuffs. And that’s sad. Kids who don’t know milk comes from cows and not from the “milk factory” (we had the coolest mobile dairy come to one of the local elementary schools back in the spring–an actual milking parlor on wheels. What fun that was!)

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    • I had my little guy (I’m 10 not little anymore Mum!) help me pot up some Heirloom tomato seedlings yesterday. They’ve all gone in the green house as it is still a bit chilly out. Won’t be for long though as spring is around the corner here in Oz. Love corn on the cob with butter dripping…

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      • Welcome and thanks for the comment. I didn’t realize that sweet corn had made it all the way to Australia. I’ll enjoy thinking about you planting your tomato seedlings as our tomatoes are bearing and dying.

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        • Thank-you. Yes, the wonderful Diggers Club has got great heirloom vegetable seeds and seedlings that you cannot find anywhere else in Australia. Can hardly wait for those long summer nights you Northern Hemisphere girls have been experiencing lately. As to the iliac crest, mine is not to obvious either anymore …

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    • My SIL just started working again in an actual milking parlor. I think kids here know where milk comes from 🙂 but there are plenty of other things left for them to be confused about.

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      • We have an annual event here called Old Time Farm Days. They have one day where area school children come to the site and a second day open to the public. There are demos of milking by hand, butter churning, blacksmithing, quilting, tatting, crocheting, basket weaving, a working grist mill and cane syrup mill and a whole lot more; kids get to try their hand at corn shucking, cotton picking, plowing with a mule, go on wagon and buggy rides, there’s an antique tractor parade . . . it’s turned into a really big event. I love it. The youngsters get a glimpse of what life was like for their grandparents and great-grands and older folks have a wonderful nostalgia trip.

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  7. Yummy, what a way to start my day off with extensive posts about North American food! I felt I had been transported to one of those lovely novels about life in the American countryside with delicious food and amusing people. Corn grows here and in the summer you can pick your own at various farms, but I can’t imagine it being as tasty as your home-grown variety. servetus, I’m definitely a wimp as I eat corn on the cob with little skewers! 🙂

    I could do without some of the wildlife mentioned, though, mosquitoes, coyotes and especially snakes. Being rather wimpy, I can only watch wild-life programmes if they feature “benign” beasts!

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    • Well, we’ll give you a pass for the skewers this time, Milly. *wink*

      I always ask Benny to flip on past if he comes to a channel with reptiles *shudder* . . . I prefer warm-blooded animals. Mosquitoes? Perish the thought . . . they really love light-eyed, fair-skinned people, as I can heartily attest. And fire ants!! I’ve been attacked in the middle of a football field covering a graduation . . . scars on my feet for close to a year.Sometimes the Great Outdoors doesn’t love me much!

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    • Well, that corn is really hot when it comes out of the kettle. The issue is once you get those skewers in, you have to take them out and put them in every piece — laborious, and meanwhile the food is getting cold. 🙂 But we will give you a pass, I agree with angieklong.

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  8. In Peru people also eat ‘Maiz’ but it isn’t the sweet-yellow type, cooked and with butter or cheese (the salty, ‘juicy one’) or alone. My mother taught me to add sugar or Anise seed to the boiling water, I prefer ‘dark’ sugar so the maiz takes a yellowish colour.

    My mother also likes juicy tomatoes (cut in square little pieces)with sugar, although for her it is eaten as dessert.

    I say ‘my mother’ because I’m guilty of not eating enough veggies and fruits (especially not fruits, not like them that much) and it’s because she made those for us that I ate it.

    OML 🙂

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    • Anise — that is really interesting. I’ll have to make a few pieces that way some time to try it out. (I can predict already what my folks would say, but I have a little more innovation in my soul.) Is the corn in Peru more whitish?

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      • Yes, is very white-ish and each ‘grain’ is usually bigger (almost 2 times) than the grain of the yellow corn. The first time I tried the yellow one was at a McDonalds in Peru and thought that wasn’t ‘real’ corn, it tasted too sweet and was too little, lol!

        OML 🙂

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      • Just to clarify that the anise is just 4-7 or so seeds if your making 3 ears of corn. Is not an exact measure, just to give you an idea.

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    • I’ve never thought of tomatoes as a dessert, but since it is actually a fruit, with sugar I guess it would qualify, wouldn’t it?

      There are also recipes for tomato soup cake, which doesn’t sound good to me, but I’ve heard is quite tasty.

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      • Here in Spain, one of their tipical dishes is the tomatoe soup or juice, depending on how light they prepare it. When I tried it I didn’t really like it which I found weird because is like a liquid salad and I like salads.

        OML 🙂

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        • I generally love tomato anything . . . it is absolutely one of my most favorite foods. The acidity of the fruit is a bit of a problem for me, but oh well . . .

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          • Totally agree and so does my old golden retriever who will pick cherry tomatoes off the vine so now I’ve had to fence them in otherwise there’s none left for me.

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  9. I wish I could grow our own veggies as my father used to (and still does) but alas the tiny square of grass we call our garden would not accommodate this. But we do pick fresh sweetcorn from a local Pick Your Own farm – must do that again soon. We love corn on the cob in our house too, my kids included, but I have to confess I cook it in the microwave *blushes* … and we avoid eating it with butter…is that VERY wrong?

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    • I’ve never eaten it cooked in a microwave, kaprekar, so I can’t say. The main point of my parents’ method of preparation is to fix the sugar in the corn — the second you remove it from the stalk it begins to transform itself into starch, so the longer you wait to cook it the less sweet and the more starchy. My mom and I in particular don’t like the starchy taste of overripe or stale corn.

      As for butter: I am sure corn is healthier without. That would be a hard sell here, as all of my grandparents were dairy farmers. We’re from the “would you like some cheese sauce with your cheese?” crowd. It was illegal to sell or purchase margarine in this state until 1967. We believe in butter.

      We’re also very resistant to change. Can you tell? 🙂

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    • I’ve eaten it “nuked” before and it’s not bad. But I have to say it just isn’t the same without butter or margarine. Oh, for my childhood days when I was skinny and didn’t worry about cholesterol and the demon of trans fats!!

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  10. Thank you very much for this wonderful insight into a wonderful meal. I am sure when RA reads your description, he would very much like to join.
    I am German and still do love ‘sweet corn’. But you are right, in Germany it is hard to get good seed for good sweet corn and also hard to get a good recipe or instruction how to prepare it. So I really do love your descriptions. – I will likely leave out the mosquitos, but ‘Mücken’ will just come in quite nicely ;o)

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    • Yeah, definitely leave out the mosquitos, CDoart.

      My German friends don’t especially like it. But then there are so many delightful German vegetables: Wirsing (Savoy cabbage), Schwarzwurzel (salsify), Mangold (Swiss chard), Gruenkohl (kale) to love, so I don’t hold it against them. 🙂 My grandmother made chard. But the others I ate for the first time in Germany.

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  11. Please post after tortilla soup recipes. I am always on the look out for a good one. You have described my fav summer dinner, except we’d swap out the vension for store bought chicken sausage because we are crazy city dwellers who don’t hunt or own land. 🙂

    I love being corn raised and fed!!! I married a nice boy from Iowa! You have touched on in a very poetic way life in the Midwest through food. You post makes me think of dreamy drives through Iowa and Wisconsin looking at rows and rows of corn and wheat fields.

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    • That’s the drive I am starting today — thanks for sharing my idyll.

      I am not a native of the Southwest, so my tortilla soup is pretty improvised. But I’ll see if I can put together how I make it, or maybe RAFrenzy will supply her insights.

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  12. Ahhh…Maize is Native food, you made me smile.
    I will have to post a photo of my corn field for you to see. No one can grow maize like us Natives.

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    • Indeed. All of my family immigrated from German-speaking areas in the 1850s, so they would most likely not have eaten sweet corn where they came from — it’s definitely a foodway that we stole from the native populations.

      I love the way cornfields look just before they are to be harvested … you all are making it so hard to leave!

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    • Hooray for the Natives, you have given us so many lovely gifts through your heritage.

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  13. @Dr. servetus: “If Mr. Armitage were to dine….with the servetus family family” is so evocative as to be lyrical. Ah, sweet corn!

    After weeks of heat wave here, it was actually cool at 6:00 am this morning, and a maple down the street has already yellowed. So, as usual, in the climate of six months a year (sometimes) of cold and 5ft snowbanks, thoughts already turn to the fifteen minutes of autumn, and (early October) Thanksgiving dinners.

    Usually turkey, experimenting with various stuffings each year, sometimes a ham baked with cloves. Sweet potato, which I’ve finally learned to bake and scoop, after years of following family tradition by peeling, chopping and swearing quietly (if there’s a quicker kitchen method, lead me to it!), whatever other veggies looked fresh and seductive at the farmers’ market. Pies, of course, of varying fruits and flavours, though dessert is always somewhat superfluous after that -but plenty for anyone to divide and take home.

    If Mr. Armitage here then, I would hope the maples are scarlet and vermilion this year, but not sure what the effect of such a prolonged summer heat wave has.

    November arrives with BBCca screening of Strike Back, and the final episode of The Tudors (can’t remember on which U.S. network we receive it here), so we can emerge restored and energised to (stoically 😦 )face the winter…

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    • You remind me, equally evocatively, that fall always follows upon summer. Thanksgiving is my mom’s best meal, and I am practically never home for it. Last year some friends and I spatchcocked a turkey, and we did pretty well, I thought. It also involved cursing when we saw the inside of the oven afterwards.

      Ah, fall.

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      • Spring and fall are really my two favorite seasons. I swear they used to last longer down south than they seem to be now, or am I just looking through those rose-colored glasses of nostalgia?

        In spite of rampant allergies my entire life, I always loved seeing the first blades of verdant grass, the jonquils and daffodils with their sunny yellow presence, those balmy spring breezes . . . and then in the fall, that crispness in the air signaling another change; the leaves turning vivid shades and anticipation of the holiday season, so busy and yet so joyous.

        Now it seems to me we get about a week of spring and another of fall and the rest is blazing hot summer and damp, chilly winter. So I savor whatever spring and fall days we actually get. I miss experiencing four true seasons, I guess.

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  14. It’s tuna season here on the Oregon coast. If Richard came to dinner here and now, fresh albecore barbequed in tereyaki sauce would be one menu item. Peaches, blueberries, and black raspberries are ripe. Apple pie for dessert with yellow transparent apples. The main dish, of course, would be Armitage anyway, anytime, anyplace. No dressings needed.

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    • *grin* Indeed, he’s a feast all in himself, isn’t he, Mary Lou?

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    • Mmmm… apple pie. *drool.*
      And Richard Armitage… *more drool.*

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      • Natalie, yellow transparent apples are far superior to any other apples for pie and applesauce. If you haven’t used yellow transparents you are missing the real taste. Tart and sweet at the same time. Just as RA is unique (there is no other actor who can compare favorably with him) these yellow transparent apples are the best.

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        • Oh, Mary Lou, now I am craving apple pie with those yellow transparent apples (love the combo of tart and sweet) served warm and topped with a scoop of Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream . . .

          Wow, judging by all the responses to this post, we really do enjoy the topic of food, don’t we?
          And I agree, there is just no other actor who is his equivalent. Simply the best.

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          • I must note that we also like to have a slice of sharp cheese with our apple pie up here.

            I was surprised at this outpouring of food enthusiasm, frankly. I thought as an off topic post this one would garner relatively little attention. Was totally wrong about that! 🙂

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            • If you post something about food, you can count on me being there, enthusiastically. I’m a “foodie” even when I’m not pregnant… it’s just magnified when I am.

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            • I sometimes make a meal of a Gala apple sliced and eaten with some sharp cheddar cheese . . . very satisfying. And boy, were you ever wrong about the popularity of this post, Dr. S!!

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              • I haven’t tried that, sounds really nice. And yes, isn’t it wonderful how food seems to touch most of us to the core of our being and bring back childhood memories. My Swedish granny used to make the most wonderful apple pie but unfortunately didn’t pass on the recipe but it is forever forged in my memory.

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                • Absolutely. There is a similarly mythical molasses cookie in my family history.

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                  • My husband has been searching for his mother’s Date Nut Roll recipe for eons . . . her special little recipe book she had had since high school disappeared at some point. We suspect one of my sisters-in-law . . . but she is not talking. Does everyone have at least one long-lost and dearly missed recipe?

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    • Yeah, but we’d have to at least let him eat before we started consuming him. 🙂

      I got the berry season while in Germany. Strawberries were very late this year, but good; excellent gooseberries as well. Raspberries brief, and blueberries very early. But what really stunned this summer were the cherries. I ate kilos and kilos of them.

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      • What a feast these comments are! This Labor Day will be the second year my FIL hasn’t grown corn and I will miss the picking, chucking and fresh taste. I just hate the starchy taste and haven’t had any yet.

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      • Not me, Servetus, I eat him first. Don’t you know life is short, eat dessert first.

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    • Ooh, and I am jealous of the possibility of buying fresh tuna. An advantage of living by the coast …

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  15. It just proves that our collective minds do roam beyond Mr. A’s physique and vocal chords.

    Mind you, Food and Richard Armitage….smorgasbordic? Concupcopious?

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  16. (coRnucopious!)

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  17. Well, Mr. Armitage should be very happy with the kind of…admireers he has, not only he will have his back covered by an army if he ever goes to war (lol) but he also would be very well fed in case he finds himself in Germany or USA 😛

    OML 🙂

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    • Something tells me Mr. A would never have to go hungry, thirsty or in need of a nice comfy place to lay his head with his legion of ardent admirers read to take care of every need. And here in the south, we are very much into showing hospitality. *grin*

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  18. Gosh dangit, I was hungry before and this really didn’t help! My tummy’s really rumbling now! Fresh corn on the cob sounds sooooo delicious (salted butter for me too please!) – here, we have to settle for maybe finding uncooked or definitely finding frozen from the supermarket.

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    • I’ll say that I think frozen is not an unreasonable substitute, though it’s not at all the same. What I avoid is canned — they add extra sugar to it. Uch.

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      • Yeah, if I get canned, I always look at the ingredients list to make sure I get the ones that aren’t sweetened. They’re called SWEETcorn, ffs! They’re sweet enough!

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  19. What a pleasure it would be to walk into a Blue Bell shop and find Mr. A seated at a table with a nice sundae, two spoons and a big smile. Serendipity.

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  20. […] the parallel narrative: as I’ve written, the Servetus family ate local. My mother usually cooks a dinner made from actual ingredients, and I love to eat at her table, not […]

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  21. […] Thanksgiving meal with my other set of cousins. Ooomph. It was one of the days on which we ate the sweet corn we managed to freeze in August, and oh was it sweet. I could write a long piece about this, and maybe I will sometime, though […]

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  22. […] controls the radio. I’d like to know what you think of The Great Gatsby. I’d like to make you some sweet corn and sit out on the back porch and then compete to see who can throw more cobs accurately into the […]

    Like

  23. […] mom’s real happy, sausage and pickled heart for hors d’oeuvres before we go to church on Christmas Eve, and backstrap […]

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  24. […] own! And in August, everything we’ve been waiting for will be ripe: melons and especially the sweet corn. Peppers and melons are predicted to be especially good this year because of the record […]

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  25. […] This picture is obviously the closest I will ever get to fulfilling my fantasy of eating sweet corn with Richard Armitage. […]

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  26. […] to be a beautiful day, even for the weeds. I wake up sneezing. I think I need to track down some sweet corn and tomatoes before they are all gone. We could not make ourselves enjoy them last summer, when mom could barely […]

    Like

  27. […] it seems a little cool for August but I have no objection to the fall coming a bit early. The tomatoes and the sweet corn have been wonderful. According to the state agricultural extension, this summer was fantastic for crops, and so the […]

    Like

  28. […] available, preserving what one can, and doing without the rest of the year. Okay, admittedly, I have a thing about sweet corn. But this is the Midwestern canon gussied up by a New York chef, and that saddened […]

    Like

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