***this is the post that is going to be known as corngate ’09. this post is for THOSE people. who burn boiling water. who have to call their sisters to find out how to make canned tomato soup. who think frozen waffles are fine dining. true corn lovers know that grilling is the best way to cook corn. But I feel this post is needed, because THOSE people? Should never know corn can be cooked by an open flame. I’m only trying to save the innocent ears.****

It has come to my attention Internets (serious eyes) that the Fourth of July is coming up and a lot of you don’t know how to properly cook corn on the cob.


(To the rest of the world, bear with me, I’m about to set America straight.)

As a Midwesterner I feel it my duty to know how to prepare corn. Just as it is a Texans duty to know how to prepare brisket or a New Englanders duty to know the proper care and preparation of chowder. After spending a year learning how to choose and prepare corn and a year to practice I feel safe in saying I. HAVE. IT. DOWN.

First? Quit husking your corn at the grocery store. QUIT IT. While you’re at it, DON’T EVEN OPEN IT. Just feel it. It should be heavy for its size and firm. (I know, BUT WHAT ABOUT BUGS? Corn begins losing its tasty tasty sugars as soon as the kernels are exposed to air, so buy a couple of extra ears and deal with the possibility of bugs. In three years? I’ve had maybe three bugged ears and they were all redeemable. It’s called a knife.)

(Also? Don’t buy corn out of season. Part of your carbon footprint involves eating what’s in season where and when it’s in season. If possible keep your eye on the corn bins during peak corn season, when they refill the stock? BEST PICKINGS EVER.)


Now you have your corn. While your boiling a huge pot of salted water husk your corn and rinse it off. (I’m not OCD about the silks, you shouldn’t be either.)

wherein I school America in how to properly cook corn.

As soon as the water is boiling add the corn.

wherein I school America in how to properly cook corn.

Let the water return to a boil, put a tight fitting lid over the top, remove it from heat (turn it off please, I know there are those people out there) and set a timer for five minutes.

wherein I school America in how to properly cook corn.

After five minutes take out your first serving, leaving the rest in for up to 10 more minutes.

wherein I school America in how to properly cook corn.

Butter (real butter please,) salt (kosher sea salt please) and enjoy.

proper corn eating technique.

Also this week in honor of America’s Birthday?

The proper way to make pie crust (cherry for us!) and the proper way to make baked beans.

You’re welcome founding fathers. Really.

What are you obligated by geographic location to know how to make?


  1. @Have the T-shirt, Agreed. On both accounts. But here’s the thing. There’s people out there that should never know that corn can be cooked by open flame. These are the same people that try to fry turkeys and burn down their house. I’m just trying to save the innocent corn that gets sent to the wrong house. You know?

  2. @Kris, Meat pie. As long as it doesn’t have gizzards in it and stuff I want some. With my pie crust.

  3. @Mommy Daisy, I hear buckeye I duck and cover. Too many bad Ohio State fan run ins.

  4. Summit County, CO
    I don’t even need to glance at the high altitude instructions on anything. It’s just how we do. But at sea level? I commit culinary atrocities.

    Casey Reply:

    @kara, Dude, I had to convert from High Altitude in Utah to Low in Indiana.
    A lot of cookies were harmed in the transition.

  5. DUDE. So I called to ask how to make tomato soup! It’s because your soup is delish and mine tastes like dish soap, okay? If you had the cooking skills of a dead band aid you would have called too!

    Casey Reply:

    @Olivia, It’s just funny, because I just follow THE DIRECTIONS ON THE CAN.

  6. @Casey, Yes… it is insane. Think of our completely shock when we visit somewhere up North and they don’t know what sweet tea is? I remember the first time I went to Florida (Yes, Florida) and the only restaurant in town that had sweet tea was a chain.

    As the old saying goes, “We like a little tea with our sugar.”

  7. @Casey,

    We can TOTALLY swap recipes. I have to get mine from my mom’s house though. I mean, I know how to make it, but I am so OCD about it, that even though I could probably do it in my sleep, I still follow the recipe every time. It’s GOOD. It’s a perfect 4th of July recipe.

  8. @Casey, It’s not just you, Casey. My husband’s family does the milk and sugar thing…it doesn’t work for me. That’s why I try to take over the corn preparation whenever possible. (oh, AND they let it sit too long)

    Casey Reply:

    @nicole, I KNEW IT. Maybe we’re uh, starchily blessed?

  9. Being from Rochester, NY, I am contractually obligated from birth to know how to make a) Buffalo wings and B) White Hots.

    Casey Reply:

    @mrs chicken, Cody lived in Rochester for two years so I know exactly what a white hot is.
    Most of America does not.
    Did you know that?

    mrs chicken Reply:

    @Casey, I know, when you say “white hot” anywhere else but western NY people look at you like you’re nuts. It is a little on the redneck side, the white hot.

    How funny about Cody! Small world. In about 11 days, I’ll be grillin’ me some white hots in the Rachacha.

    Casey Reply:

    @mrs chicken, I also know what Nick Tahoe’s (sp?) is. Doesn’t mean I like it though. Pretty much worst meal of my life.

  10. @Erin, I am aware that mayo makes artichokes better…BUT CORN?
    Okay. I’ll try it.

  11. @heidikins, Ooh, and I use butter. Nom nom butter.

  12. @SciFi Dad, We claim no association with the Jolly Green toga wearing giant.

  13. @Daisy, That’s already how I do it. Honorary Southerner medal plz.

  14. I grew up in PA- western PA- Pittsburgh-area…..I’m therefore obligated to know how to make Pierogies and spread Pierogie-goodness among us. And yes, PA Pierogies are a proper noun, and therefore capitalized 🙂

  15. THANK YOU for this post! I can’t tell you how many chewy, tough, mushy, overcooked ears of corn I’ve had to eat at the homes of others.

    Our recipe is a replica of yours, except for the beginning:

    1. Put water on to boil.
    2. Go out back and pick enough corn for the meal.
    3. RUN, don’t walk to the house to get the corn shucked and into the pot.

    I know today’s corn is supersweet and doesn’t turn starchy quite as fast as the varieties available 30 years ago, but it’s still a good idea to try and find corn that will spend as little time as possible between stalk and pot.

    As for dishes I’m required by birth to know how to make: grits, sausage gravy, red-eye gravy, biscuits, fried chicken, sweet tea, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows (I despise this one, sadly!), cornbread (NOT the sweet, cakey kind!), collard greens, various pickles and — in a nod to my small but vocal Yankee branch of the family — bagels and soft pretzels.

    Sorry, I talk too much.

  16. Funeral potatoes.

  17. Yummy!

  18. Who are these people who do not know how to make corn??

  19. I never worry about the bugs, but I do worry about the shriveled up ends. So, I’m one of those “peekers” that you probably hate. 🙂 I’ll try to do better!

  20. I grew up just outside New Jersey. We always bought our corn in the Grocery store because it was ALWAYS Jersey corn and it was good (or so I thought).
    The first time I brought corn home to my then fiance, now husband said “what’s THAT”. It was June. Corn isn’t ripe up hear in New England until August.

    I have since seriously learned the error of my ways and only by corn in August from farm stands.

  21. Ok that corn looks good and that is the way I used to make it but…. there is a little gem at Indianapolis Farmers Markets known as “My Dads Corn”. Indianapolis monthly talked about them in an issue last summer.
    I think I might be a corn connoisseur and have tried many kinds at grocery stores and farmers markets but this stuff is the BEST. The owner told me the best way to cook it is to STEAM for 8-10 min. De-husk, rinse, get a pot with a few inches of H2O boiling then put one of those metal things with holes that closes up on itself, put corn in, lid on 8-10 min of steaming and it’s perfect. Sorry to be a know it all, you are getting so many variations of this simple task but try “my dads corn” and you won’t be disappointed!

  22. Thanks, Casey! My corn always ends up soggy and mushy. Your way sounds perfect.

  23. I heart corn. I’m perfectly grilling it. Haven’t quite got there yet!

  24. Oooops did I start something?

  25. I have to second the my Dad’s sweet corn a pp mentioned. I bought it from the fresh market (54th and college) last summer and it was AMAZING. (Haven’t seen it this yr) It’s brought in fresh every day and almost always sold out everyday last yr. Very convienent for the city dwellers.

  26. well, like you said…i’m from texas so i HAVE to know how to cook a brisket…

    also on the list of requirements:
    red beans
    steak (basically anything on the grill)
    banana pudding
    pecan pie

    thank goodness i inherited my grandmother’s cooking skillz…otherwise i’d be deported from texas


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