Summertime —slow, lazy, sultry — has laid its spell on me. No posting, no reading blogs, not doing much of anything except lolling about, reading, and day dreaming. And eating corn on the cob.
In Andrew Marvell’s poem To His Coy Mistress, he urges his lady to get a move on, time’s a-fleeting. Had they but world enough and time, he says, they could flirt and play coy to both their heart’s content. Their vegetable love could grow vaster than empires, he says. But there isn’t world enough, nor is there time; and by the time someone is my great age, how well we know the truth of that!
My great love in life (besides The Hub, of course) is a vegetable love. I flip for fresh corn on the cob. All winter and spring and early summer I wait for the corn to grow as high as an elephant’s eye, for the soft tassels to fill out and turn brown, for the farm stands to spring up all along our roads, proffer their vast heaps of corn, the king of all summer crops, especially for me.
You can get into a serious argument in the U.S. about how best to cook fresh corn on the cob. Some swear by steaming, some by grilling. But me, I just bring some water to a boil, dump in the corn, let it boil NO MORE THAN two minutes, pluck it out, slather on the butter, add judicious salt, and that’s it. (Truth to tell, sometimes I nibble raw kernels right from the cob.)
I’ll serve corn on the cob with rotisserie chicken, or the occasional hamburger. With tilapia, maybe. A boiled lobster is very nice. But the corn is the main event for me. I would eat it EVERY SINGLE DAY of the season, if The Hub didn’t periodically revolt. I tell him, I wait all year, the season goes so fast, how can I bear to miss out on all those beautiful green ears calling out to me from everywhere? But sometimes he still hardens his heart.
Now I know that no French person is going to pick food up from a plate with bare hands , especially food dripping with butter, and wade into it with unrestrained gusto. German friends don’t especially love to do that either. But The Hub is American-born! Ah well, in marriage one has to make allowances.
As it is, I’ll have fresh corn four times a week or so all summer. Oh, I have a couple of other recipes for it (Corn with Miso Butter and Bacon, Corn with Scallions, Bacon and Greens), but really — they’re gilding the lily, so far as I’m concerned. The pure thing, unadorned, is what I crave.
September begins today, and the countdown to the end of corn season. All too soon it will be back to making do with winter squash and potatoes and cabbage. I like them all, they’re very good friends of mine. But my dearest true love, my romance, will all too soon abandon me, and back I’ll go to wishful dreaming until next July.
Had we but world enough, and time —- If I lived in California or in Florida, how much more time could I spend with my vegetable love! But if absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder, perhaps New England’s stern and implacable seasons in fact only strengthen my vegetable love, and make it grow.
Do you have a vegetable love too? If so, tell all!