Had the first sweet corn of the year last night. Isn't it funny how a song, a scent, a taste will bring back memories? Sweet corn equals summer to me. How we would wait for Carl's Corn stand to open every summer when I was a kid. There must have been other vendors, but my mother was loyal to Carl's. It was she who taught me to pull back a few leaves of the husk to check for worm damage. A local farmer recently complained about people doing that at her stand at a farmers' market. Well, I wish I'd done it when I picked out my recent purchase because, sure enough, a worm had beat me to it. No problem, it was easily broken off. Back in the day, Carl's sold a big brown grocery bag of corn for a dollar! That was then, this is now. Only yellow corn was available, and I'll admit I've switched allegiance to the white, which I think is sweeter and more tender.
My mother, like most housewives of the time, cooked all vegetables (and meat) beyond recognition by today's quick-cook standards. Corn was boiled for half an hour, fresh green beans were cooked until grey, pork chops could have been used for hockey pucks. Trichinosis was still an issue with pork, so that was understandable, but there's no comparison with three-minute, crisp corn. Also, all vegetables were sold fresh, and probably organic, because there was no frozen food. When frozen vegetables became available, they were sold in little white boxes. There was a processing plant in Pasadena where the veggies were frozen on one side of the road and air blown loose in a big tube above and across to the packaging plant on the other. It made big news when the pipe broke and lima beans filled the road below. Ah, the memories.
It was a cool day and the wind was blowing, but, to me, it was the first day of summer. Now, if I just had a lawn, I'd go barefoot and know for sure that summer had arrived.