Live and Die by the Sweet Corn

July 10, 2017


There are many things I’m loathe to admit about myself, because frankly, they’re somewhat shameful: I’m lazy, a chronic over-thinker, a homebody almost to the point of cloistered, a gum-smacker, a reluctant exerciser. I refuse to iron clothing, keep weeds out of the garden, tidy up the laundry room. I need a staggering amount of sleep, wear the same socks for days and worry so much that I fear I’m like one of those nervous, high-strung small dogs.

Also, I’m a glutton.

Gaaa, it’s embarrassing but it’s true. When it comes to things I love to eat, I cannot leave well enough alone. Put me in a room with a bowl of pasta carbonara, a box of Triscuits or a sackful of gummi bears and it’s nothing but trouble.

You’d think, at the ripe age of…quite over 40…I’d have more self-control.

I’m also prone to eating jags, which makes me not only piggish but also boring, because I’ll become obsessed with a food and eat it ad inifinitum, over and over, day after day, until I absolutely cannot look at it anymore and feel sick just thinking about it.

Who does that?

Well, actually, my Mama did but she’s no longer around to give me a run for my money, so I’m feeling rather lonely in my quirky eating habits of late.

Summertime is one of my most challenging seasons for jag eating, because there’s so much delicious, fresh, fleetingly-seasonal stuff that I barely have time to eat myself silly. But I’m giving it the old college try.

I’ve already burned out on strawberries and I’m nearly there with plump, juicy cherries. I’m not quite there with watermelon but give it a couple of weeks. Not tired of tomatoes yet and no way, not even close to pulling the curtains on the sweet corn.

I’m still in the honeymoon phase with sweet corn, where I’m so entranced that I’ll knock down two glasses of Fume Blanc, scarf two ears of liberally buttered and salted sweet corn, add an heirloom tomato and call it the best. damn. dinner.

This is too bad, because I have a sneaking suspicion that my husband is tiring of my sweet corn habit.

My razor-sharp senses picked this up last weekend when his eyes rolled around in his head when he saw the yellow ears sitting on the dinner table.

Sorry, honey.

He’s particularly aggrieved because of late, I’ve been eating my corn Mexican-style, which is an utterly deee-licious way to consume sweet corn (unless you are a freak who hates sour cream. Which he is.)

I was introduced to this method of eating corn a few years ago, when we had some lovely young women from Mexico staying with us for the summer. They introduced us to quite a few South-of-the-Border delights: agua fresca, chilaquales, mango with lime and chile…but this Mexican Street Corn was my ultimate favorite.

It’s funny, because at first I didn’t see how it could work. Slather perfectly good sweet corn with a blend of sour cream and mayonnaise? Add in puckery lime, salty cheese and a generous dusting of cayenne pepper? Wouldn’t that muddy the sweet, buttery flavor of the corn?

Turns out, it didn’t muddy the flavor at all. It just turned it into something different and utterly delightful. I’m a sucker for all of the flavors involved here, but I go extra heavy on the lime juice and the cayenne, because they bring so much joy and interest to the party. Feel free to play with the ratios here, according to your preference. But I do encourage you to try eating corn this way. Try it once, and I think you’ll be a convert.

Alas, I think my husband still has at least a month’s worth of suffering left before I’m done with corn. Unlike most of my vices, I refuse to apologize for this one.



Grilled Corn, Mexico Style
serves 8

8 ears corn, husked
1 cup sour cream (you could use a mix of full-fat and low-fat in a half/half ratio if you must)
1/2 cup good quality mayo (do not use low fat here and go for good quality mayo, like Hellman’s–aka: Best Foods in Colorado–or Duke’s)
1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 limes
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
1 cup queso fresca or cotija cheese, crumbled (Mexican white cheese)
Cayenne pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon but you can tinker with it

Extra lime wedges, for serving



Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn, turn off the heat, and let the corn bathe in the water for ten minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the sour cream, the mayonnaise, and the salt/pepper together. Squeeze in the juice of one lime. Taste for seasoning and add up to one more juiced lime, if desired.

When the corn is warmed through, remove from the water and shake excess water off. Slather corn with the mayo mixture.

Top the corn with cilantro and queso fresca. Shake cayenne over the corn and serve with the extra wedges of lime.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie July 10, 2017 at 7:13 am

Now this is some serious Mexican street corn! Our corn is just now coming into season (late start this year). I’ve got to give this a try instead of our standard salt and pepper approach. Xoxo


Wendi @ BonAppetitHon July 10, 2017 at 12:33 pm

This + rice = all I need for dinner.


Ayala July 11, 2017 at 3:10 am

This made me smile. Thank you, Dana. Xo


elizabeth July 14, 2017 at 5:52 am

I am 1000% in favor of summertime eating jags like this, because when the pickings are good you have to take full advantage of it for as long as you can!


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