Have a corny Fourth of July
Corn, as we all know, is in tons of the foods we eat. It’s been fed to the animals we consume, and it’s a hidden ingredient (in the form of starch, syrup, oil, etc.) in many, if not most, processed foods. A supermarket in which all products containing corn were eliminated would be “little more than just fresh fruit and vegetables with a fish counter,” Andrew F. Smith writes in “The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink” (Oxford University Press, 2007). It’s interesting to note, however, that fish sticks often contain corn — in the breading.
That’s according to Betty Fussell. In her encyclopedic “The Story of Corn” (Knopf, 1992), she also found corn in beer and wine and in an amazing array of nonedibles, including paint, insecticides, toothpaste, lipstick, shaving cream, shoe polish, detergents, tobacco, rayon, tanned leather, rubber tires, urethane foam, explosives and embalming fluid.
It’s clear that we are consuming enough (or too many) corn byproducts. But are we eating enough CORN? “Real” corn — fresh corn — is a delicacy, a short-lived marvel and a cause for celebration. It is truly an American food, a New World plant that evolved from wild grasses in Central America. If you can get fresh, local corn for your Fourth of July celebration, consider it your patriotic duty.
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