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A LOVE AFFAIR WITH CREAMED CORN AND A BYGONE ERA Print E-mail
by Sandra Lewis    Thu, Sep 28, 2006, 04:57 PM
My parent’s live a hop, skip, and a jump away from my gym, which is convenient when I’m hungry after a workout. They love it when I stop in and I love it when they have leftovers.

Lest you think I am a total mooch, I go on a workout binge maybe once every six months and I don’t always forage for food at their house afterwards.

Following a recent workout, however, I scored a delicious, complete meal, ready and waiting in their fridge for a quick microwave warm up – swiss steak, mashed potatoes, green peas, apple and celery salad, and creamed corn.

It was all wonderful, but, oh, the creamed corn! It was the kind that is lovingly cut from the cob, joined with a bit of butter and half & half with a natural sweetness and light crunch from the whole kernels.

Be assured that this creamed corn bears no resemblance to the stuff slopped out of a tin can. Truly it’s a crime if your only experience with creamed corn has been Green Giant.

Enjoying this dish at my mother’s kitchen table brought back fond memories of the creamed corn my Aunt Inez, or simply “Ine” - pronounced with a long “i” and “e” as we liked to call her, used to make. Except she plucked her corn cobs straight from the stalks growing in the expansive garden she tended behind her house that sat just off of a gravel road in rural Mississippi.

Ine never used a written recipe and she cooked three meals a day for more years than I’ve been alive. She served homemade biscuits with each meal that she rolled out with an old wine bottle and cut from the dough using an empty vienna sausage can.

No one in the family thought to preserve any of her recipes. After she died all we had were our memories of the wonderful tastes she produced using her homegrown produce in a small country kitchen using simple tools day after day, year after year.

At times I wish I could revisit those days. I would more deeply appreciate the art and the effort.

I am especially sorrowful over the loss of her biscuit making art. I have yet to eat a biscuit that matches hers in taste and texture; I can’t reproduce it and neither can my mother.

But my mom gets an A+ for her efforts in researching and experimenting with creamed corn recipes that most closely resemble Ine’s creation. The simple ingredient list in this recipe is reflective of what Ine most likely stored in her cupboard and refrigerator.

This is a photo, circa summer 1964, taken on the road in front of Ine’s house with my brother, Michael, my cousin, Debbie, and myself as we prepared to visit a fishing pond with the hopes of catching a big one. I’m in the middle.



Creamed Corn
6 medium ears fresh corn
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. half & half or milk
2 t. cornstarch
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. white pepper

Cut corn from cobs, scraping cobs well to remove milk. Combine corn, butter and water in a heavy saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat 10 minutes or until corn is done, stirring occasionally.

Combine remaining ingredients, beating with a wire wisk until cornstarch is blended; add to corn, stirring well.

Cover and cook 3 minutes or until thickened and bubbly, stirring often.

Yield 4 to 6 servings.

Sandra's Cooking Notes:
- My mom uses more water as it seems a bit dry with using just 1/2 cup.
- I doubt Ine had half & half around, but my mom prefers it over milk; makes it creamier she says.
- You can substitute black pepper for the white pepper as I'm sure this would have been more true to Ine's version.
- Thanks to Southern Living Cookbooks for this recipe.
 
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