Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Children of the Corn

Two days ago we were eating cheese corn in UP- the perfect boiled corn kernels sold by the cup then topped with cheese powder and dotted with margarine. A fine thing to eat to chase December cloudy and busy days away. It reminded me of better corn days, not the wonderful experience at the Tagaytay roadside but those that reminded of childhood love affair with corn: Cloudless blue skies, warm sunshine, summer clothes.

My favorite memories of summer include running down the corn farm of my grandfather. The corn used to grow taller than us, and at harvest, my greatest excitement was looking at the corn hair, and realized that they come in different colors: pink (yes, pink), gold, auburn, dark brown- whose silky texture and shine rivaled that of Barbie’s. I think it was from my grandparents (I grew up surrounded by many old people who’d get their medications from concoctions of boiled anything under the sun) I also that I heard, corn hair has medicinal properties, so after boiling clean corn in their husks, you could actually drink the water like tea. I tried that myself, and it doesn’t taste bad. For the health benefits, that I have to find out. Then the days were also full of corn- cooking: corn soup for lunch, corn on cobs with butter, and grilled corn late in the afternoon. If I knew enough how to cook back then, I would have tried numerous dishes to flavor those hot summer days.

Now many years later, that small farm is already a subdivision and part of that is our front yard. I went home last summer and there were these small corn trees growing at the side of our fence. I somehow learned to identify a little if the crop is already ripe for harvesting. So using my far-from-expert -judgment, I knew that that batch was ready. Removing the husks, I was greeted by plump, smiling, shiny little teeth carefully placed on the cob. It was of the white native variety whose seeds, according to the planter, were given by a farmer from a distant barrio. Placed alongside commercial corns- whether genetically- modified or not, our corn was far from perfect. But when boiled and brushed with a little butter and a sprinkled with some sea salt, me and my sister gobbled a potful in delicious silence. We loved that summer. And felt the luckiest children on earth because that corn was planted by our mother, and for sure, was free from any bacteria strain. :)

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