The Corn Connoisseur

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Dinner was always the high of my day. I was eager to eat, but from experience, I knew helping often led to prolonging the process. It was best just to let the rest of my family do the cooking. I often dropped pans, set the table wrong, or simply was too slow. My mom, with her long, elegant, fingers was smooth and speedy in the kitchen, instructing my sister in the art of cooking. My dad was a master of a few dishes, such as mozzarella and tomato salad, penne Bolognese, or swordfish. Despite his limited experience, I could always count on him to make a mean balsamic vinaigrette.
I was the official corn-shucker. Every dinner my job was to gather armfuls of corn and trudge happily out to the back porch and prepare those delicious ears for cooking. I would not have spent hours each summer removing every little hairy peel for just any ordinary piece of New England produce. No, this corn was special. It was from Scotti’s. As a child, the little stand on Old Black Point Road was the greatest gastronomical glory on earth. It was an intimate, physical experience being able to pick fresh produce without catching a cold from the supermarket air-conditioning machines, but the real magic lay in the growing process. I used to beg my mom to go into town and “check on the veggies,” because it was incredible for me, a city kid, to see the plants get higher and higher. With each inch they grew, the closer they were to being perfectly cooked, seasoned, and assembled on my dinner plate. The strawberries were round, swollen, and juicy, the blueberries sweet not sour, the tomatoes red and smooth, but the corn… it was a masterpiece. Words cannot describe the feeling of biting into a piece of Scotti’s corn. Butter, salt, or any other condiments were simply out of the question. One would salivate just looking at the yellow, round, kernels waiting to be bitten into. They were perfectly yellow, perfectly bumpy, and perfectly juicy. I truly looked forward all year to tasting Scotti’s corn. I more than enjoyed it; I absolutely loved, adored, and respected it as a living equal. I believe one summer I even announced I was going to marry it.
I became the lover and connoisseur of all things corn in the family. I was attached to my babies from the moment we picked them up. I cradled them all the way home in the car, placed them carefully to rest for a while in the fridge, then finally began the artful process of removing the hull. To this day, I repeat the same process every summer. The flavor never gets old.





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