How to eat corn on the cob
I admit my title for this fine Funtastic Thursday is completely misleading, but I wanted to lure in all those new people who commented on How to Butter Corn. This is actually a pretty accurate description of how I eat corn on the cob -- I just didn't realize how scary it was. Here's guest poster Owl Meat. EL
I spent a lot of time at my friend Jimmy's house when I was about six or seven. Jimmy's father Woody had a barber shop in the front of the house. It was the place to be. He had grass in his tiny row house yard and a finished basement with a record player, a drum set, and his father's ancient Elvis Presley records. Not the good ones, but effluvial soundtracks like "Clambake" and "Speedway." That was the music from the late '60s that I got to hear? What a rip-off. ...
Woody's Barber Shop was part Afterworld waiting room and part torture chamber (in my mind). It was strewn with lurky old men reading girlie magazines and whittling the past into trinkets of regret and resignation. The glinting steel cutting tools and buzzing electric razors layered menace upon torpor. Every spring before school ended, my father would drag me there to get sheared like a Paschal lamb.
Woody closed the shop and had family supper around 3:30 p.m. One day Jimmy's mother called over to my mother and asked if I could stay for supper. Approved. I don't remember what exactly was served that day, because I was about to be dazzled by the most amazing demonstration of corn-on-the-cob eating ever.
Corn on the cob in my home had the accoutrements of civilized commoners: manners, plastic cob-shaped cob holders, and the prohibition from wolfing down food. We wouldn't want people to think we were immigrants after all.
Woody sat at the kitchen table with his back to the sink. Jimmy's mother placed a sparkling metal tray on the table stacked with corn. Woody smiled, smoothed his shiny black hair, took a deep breath, and then tore into a cob like Grendel in a petting zoo.
He was a biting-chewing machine going left to right, swallowing, no, gulping, then like a typewriter carriage return, DING, next row. Before I could fully digest the scene, he finished the cob, pause-swallowed, exhaled, and tossed the cob over his shoulder into the sink. DING. Woody continued his conquest of the corn, the Great Berserker of 11th Street, the Master Masticator, devouring, inhaling, dominating the peasantry of Cornville, destroying all conventional notions of etiquette and possibly time itself. He was the Tasmanian Devil of the Cob.
After the Beast within had been sated and the sink was littered with the bones of his destruction, Woody leaned back with a sense of accomplishment and asked, "Who wants Jell-O?" Woody loved cherry red Jell-O with Cool Whip, and he always had room for Jell-O.
Because of his barberous butcher's tools, Woody the Barber terrified me. Woody the Eater was the embodiment of animal desire and gluttony, like a Viking on shore leave. Somehow this gnashing noshing shiny beast, this King of the Chews, this cob-gobblin' eating machine was oddly comforting. Perhaps it was fun to see the Torquemada of the shears devour something other than the top of my skull.
Whether someone eats corn slow or fast, around and around or across, it's impossible not to think of Woody the Barber. DING.
(Photo credit: Getty Images)