Garlic Buttered Corn on the Cob

Yes,, I know that everyone and their mother in the North of America knows every method possible to cook corn on the cob but please bear in mind that I am not from North America.

In Northern Ireland, growing up, corn came in cans or occasionally (and only on special occasions) frozen mini cobs.

Regular corn on the cob as known here while I was growing up was rare and then it slowly came into our grocery stores.

But I have to admit something awful.

Though first I want to cite two excuses – my Great Uncle who moved to Canada when he was 18 thinks that corn on the cob is cattle feed and my Nanda who was a farmer, in the blessed County of Armagh, knew it was.

That out of the way I can get to my confession.  I didn’t like real corn on the cob.  It was too hard.  I was used to the softer niblets brought to us by our lovely friend, the Jolly Green Giant, who lived in a lovely valley full of all things good that he canned and sent to us via the grocery store.

The Jolly Green Giant - friend to us all!

When I first moved to Canada I saw field after field of swaying corn and as we drove by Allan said he reckoned it would be a late harvest, and looking at the stalks and seeing only a wisp on top I agreed and nodded sagely.

It was only last summer I learnt the truth about sweet corn.

I was at a friend’s vegetable patch in Northern Alberta and said to them, wisely, that it looked as though the corn would be a while before it was ready.

She tilted her head at me and said it was ready to harvest now.  I pointed to the wispy bit and said “But there is no corn!”.

She pointed to the side of the stalks and I blushed.  The ears grow on the SIDE of the stalks!

Please do not judge everyone in Northern Ireland by my ignorance, though I have to say that none of them bothered to share their knowledge with me…

If I had just seen this picture before today I might have known about how sweet corn grows!! Maybe the Jolly Green Giant was jealous and wanted me to believe it grew in his valley in cans!

I did know though how to cook it. Open the can and boil it or shuck the ear and boil it.  Then coat liberally in butter and salt and consume as delicately as you can while butter is dripping off your chin…

I took to this new concept of fresh corn really well once my cousin, Alison, (great name, huh?) cooked it for us and it wasn’t the rock hard fresh corn I had grown to expect.  I was used to the soft niblets that my friend the Jolly Green Giant had sent to us for years.  It was soft.  Fresh corn was hard.

I didn’t like hard.

But Alison converted me.

I loved fresh sweet corn!

I even got cute little plastic corn cobs forky things to eat it with!

So cute! They look like little cobs of corn!

This summer I bought as many ears of corn as I could, from the grocery store and from cash crop road side stalls.  Particularly the road side stalls.  It goes back to my post “Men” and my guilt that if I don’t buy certain things or services children will starve, it makes no sense, but then I rarely do.

I boiled it and ate it with slabs of butter and piles of salt.  It was so good, though hardly healthy.

But this morning as I contemplated the eight ears I had in the fridge I decided I wanted to do something different.

So, I took them out of the fridge and set them on the table while Bob, Echo and I stared at them.

Until it hit me.

What do I love as much as butter?!


But what do I love as much as butter that is healthier?!


It was obvious!!

Before my inspiration and motivation could leave me I grabbed a bowl and filled it with half a pound of soft butter with as much garlic as I could mince before fainting with the heat.

It seems that PTSD comes with a wonky internal thermostat.  I am hot when everyone else is cold, and cold when they are hot.  And doing anything makes me panic and gives me head sweats.

I love those…

But I didn’t want to just boil the corn and use the gorgeous garlic butter.


But not just regular steaming…

It was obvious, again.

I shucked the ears, keeping the inner leaves attached and removing the silk (what is it with that silky stuff anyway?!) and then carefully coated the first ear in the butter using a spoon.

It was after three ears I realised I was using too much butter.

Paula Deen would have been proud.

So, I got all Nigella Lawson, and used my hands to rub the butter all over the corn, massaging it in.  Luxuriating in my “chef-fy-ness”, and my inventiveness in the kitchen.

I pulled the husks back over the butter and used some of the left over husks to tie them up.

Bondage corn.  Now, I KNOW I invented that!

I half filled my largest pot and put a colander into it and put the cobs in to steam to perfection with the lid on top, and watched as the steam poured out of the holes in the colander and around the lid.

It was after Bob barked plaintively at me, as if to say, “MOM!” I realised why Mr Alcan invented tin foil.

I wrapped it all up tightly and let it steam for about 15 minutes, until fork tender, I like my corn a little softer.

Now, probably you are all sitting there shrugging as you think that your great-great-great-great grandmother has been steaming sweet corn forever, but this was my invention in my head.  It was my relevation!  And right now, as noone has disabused me of that fact I can live in blissful ignorance, believing I invented steaming sweet corn in their husks.

Buttered, covered and tied off

I even invented a way to eat it, too! When I pulled back the husks I realised they made a perfect handle.  So perfect I had to take a picture.

Probably you have all been doing that since you were in your high chairs?  Well, I invented it today as I had never heard of it before!

Look, Mom! One hand!!

It was cooked to perfection and needed no more butter but just a twist of garlic salt.  It was so good I ate three before deciding that it might be piggish to eat more.

Oh, I am lying.  I ate three and then couldn’t fit anymore in as I had eaten three doughnuts waiting for the corn to steam.

I have no excuses except that they were there.  There were six doughnuts, so really I was very self controlled.

Bob and Echo enjoyed the corn too.  But they got no salt on theirs.  Just in case you were about to call the Humane Society and complain about how I treat my babies.

Steamed to perfection!

I felt so saintly as I had to add no more butter, until I remembered how much butter I had slathered them in!

But then I consoled myself that it had probably all fallen off into the water (I am pretending to believe that, it so did not fall off…).

All I had to add was some more garlic salt and it was so good.

Now, I will sit back and wait to hear how everyone and their mother, but me, knew how to steam sweet corn in the husks and use the husks as a handle except me.

But in my world, I invented this.  And nothing can change my mind on that!

I now have five more ears awaiting more inspiration to strike…

Maybe corn salsa?!

What with the soup yesterday and the corn today I was beginning to think I was getting my energy and motivation back, but I was disabused of that by the phone ringing and sending me into a panic attack and floods of tears.

(Also, can anyone tell me why the post I wrote and published disappeared barring the first couple of sentences while the pictures remained?  I had to rewrite this and I didn’t write as much as the first time as I was so fed up at the glitch!)