Saturday, July 24, 2010

What you can hear : Fried Corn

There were railroad tracks close by grandparent's house in Ohio. When we would go visit Grandma and Grandpa, trains would often stir me awake during the night. I was somewhat fascinated as well intimidated by the trains and I wanted to watch them whenever I could. I wanted to get close, but not too close. I remember one time I went somewhere with Grandma, and rather than drive, she suggested we walk. Our path? The railroad track. "Grandma, isn't this dangerous?" I'd ask. "What if a train comes?" She would tell me that she had good ears and that she would hear a train in plenty of time to keep me safe. She had learned to listen for faraway sounds that announced the impending arrival of a train.

Listening is, I believe, an acquired skill. On this cooking journey, I am often alone in my kitchen. Rather than turn on music or let myself fret about the day's schedule or latest challenge, I intentionally quiet the room and try to turn off my own thoughts. I want to hear what comes. What memory, what wisdom. I want to hear the corn sizzling in the pan, to hear the soft patter of my hands on the bread dough. I want to learn to listen and to be present. It is a wonderful time that restores my soul and keeps me from getting lost in the world. Memories are my companion, new perspectives my guide.

As I made fried corn today, I listened for what would come. The memory of Grandma promising to listen so that I would be safe is what I heard (besides the great sounds coming from the pan)and remembered. For this recipe, I took ideas from two recipes found in the cookbook and came up with something I found very enjoyable to eat. If corn is plentiful for you right now or it's just too difficult to eat on the cob, you might enjoy this variation.

Fried Corn
2 cups corn, cut from the cob
3 T butter(make it real!)
2 green onions
2 eggs
1 1/2 T flour
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup half and half or whole milk
Heat butter in a skillet. Add the corn and green onions and stir over moderate heat. Keep turning the corn so it doesn't burn.
Beat eggs and add flour, salt, and half and half.
When the corn begins to brown, add the egg mixture. Simmer slowly until mixture becomes thick.

This recipe is adapted from recipes found in The Mennonite Community Cookbook (1950).



  1. Ellen, what a fabulous fabulous blog, which I learned about from a Mennonite friend. I also have my grandmother's copy of The Mennonite Community Cookbook, all neatly taped back together with clear tape---and my mother's copy, not so neatly taped together with bright red tape----AND my own newer copy which was a Christmas gift from my mom when I got married. I don't use my own copy much because I like to use theirs, so I can read their margin notes. I love turning the same pages I know were turned by the hands of my mother and grandmother. Love your comments about quieting the room when you cook. What a gift, this blog. Is your grandmother still living, to enjoy your blog? Hope so.

  2. Deb, welcome and thanks for reading. It is great to be able to "turn the same pages" and read the handwritten notes. I agree. Sadly my grandma isn't alive but I feel I am reconnecting with her. Thank you!