We can never eat corn at my parent’s house without my mom reminding us of my dad’s old mantra , “Corn is for pigs.” Apparently, after learning that pigs are fed corn, the grain lost its appeal with my dad. He has since gotten over his corn hang up, thankfully. I need grilled corn after swimming in their pool on a hot day. (Yeah, I’m over there a lot.) Know what? I’m not alone in my corn-lovin’ attitude. Most of us love corn and don’t even know how much. Apparently, corn is in something like 4,000 of the 10,000 products sold at the grocery store. Mama Mia! After reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I was shocked to learn how corn has become a serious stakeholder in our guts.
“Grown on massive farms, oceans’ worth of the golden kernels and green stalks are then processed, deconstructed, and reassembled in factories into everything from a Chicken McNugget to salad dressing. We eat so much corn that, biologically speaking, most Americans are corn on two legs.” (Powell, 2006)
Pollan describes one of my favorite kitchen staples, coffee creamer as…brace yourself, “a foodlike substance.” Well, poo. I love my creamer! The more exotic the flavor, the better! I am talking about CoffeeMate, International Delight and now even BAILEY’S. I guess my coffee has a bit of corn in it too! Corn is of course, not a bad thing. It’s just the base of a seriously overprocessed thing, high fructose corn syrup. Do I still drink the stuff? You bet. It is a little like smoking a cigarette, I know it is bad for me, but it is soooo good TO me! I don’t actually smoke, just pretending to know how a smoker feels.
The photo above was taken last week at Ardenwood Farms in Fremont, California. Dallas is learning to grind indian corn that was shelled (scraped) off of a cob. We were on a field trip and prepping some food for the farm animals. Too bad I didn’t have my camera out when he dumped that whole bowl of ground corn over while we were preparing to feed sheep. Yes, it was on purpose. His excuse? “The sheep just made me nervous. They were blinking at me.”
So, in addition to pigs, corn is for chickens too (and livestock of all kind that needs fattening.) You know who else corn is for? Corn is for me! That stuff is good! Did you see the move, Nacho Libre? In the movie, Jack Black’s sidekick, named Esqueleto, eats corn on the cob in a way I had never seen before. I’ve searched and found it called, Ghetto Corn, Mexican Corn, Chile and Lime Corn and Nacho Libre Corn! I’d love to try this, but I’ll have to wait a couple more months.I refuse to buy corn on the cob right now while it’s so expensive, but come June I will be expiramenting! In the meantime, do you have a good recipe for Nacho Libre Corn?
Interested in what else Michael Pollan has to say? Read a little more here.