Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reminiscing About Southern Fried Corn

fried corn Today, the folks over at Dinner Tonight and A Way To Garden are hosting the next installment of the cross-blog food fest staring Corn.

I don't really eat corn all that much and I've never grown it in my garden because (a.) I don't think I have enough space and (b.) it has always seemed like one of those veggies that only very experienced gardeners grow and something I'm just not ready for yet.

When I think of corn I am always reminded of my great grandmother who lived in Clarksville, Tennessee. She made the best fried corn in the world. It had a wonderful sweet and sour flavor and somehow she cooked it exactly long enough to be tender, yet perfectly crunchy. Unfortunately I never got the recipe from her before she died and I've tried, unsuccessfully, several times to make it. I can see her now, standing in her rather dinky old kitchen slicing the homegrown corn right off the cob into a big old cast iron skillet before she added her secret ingredients. I have no idea what she used to make that fried corn but I do remember that my great grandmother dipped snuff and kept a metal container embossed with the word "grease" on the stove at all times so I'm pretty sure she used things like lard, lots of salt and sugar. Nowadays that stuff is banned from most houses (including mine) because they are not particularly healthy, but my great grandmother lived to 94 eating this stuff, so you be the judge.

Side Note: We called my great-grandparents "Other Momma and Other Daddy" all our lives and I had no clue that it was odd until one of my friends looked at me like I had 3 heads when I said "my other momma blah blah blah..." I'm sure "other momma" must have been the way they explained the grandparent relationship to my mother who spent a lot of time with them when she was young.

My great grandmother made all kinds of delicious southern dishes that I never really appreciated because I was at that picky eating age where I thought just about everything was gross. Now that I'm "more mature" and even trying my hand at gardening I'm really regretting not taking the time to get gardening lessons from Other Daddy and cooking lessons from Other Momma.

Anybody have a healthier recipe for fried corn?

Be sure to visit Dinner Tonight and A Way To Garden for more cornsational blog posts.

image from delishfood.wordpress.com

4 comments:

  1. I am a fan of fried corn too. I've done a little research and discovered that there are two varieties of fried corn. The first and most basic is the corn cut off the cob, sauteed with a little bacon grease and a teaspoon of sugar, and salt and pepper when its done. If you salt the corn before cooking it gets tough. I'm not sure what the purpose of the sugar is because corn already has quite a lot of sugar in it which caramelizes in the pan while cooking and IMO is what makes it so delicious.
    The second variety takes a second pass on the cob to get all the milk, then is mixed with cream, and its all cooked with bacon grease, green peppers or whatever, and some water to reduce in the pan. I haven't had this one.

    I make fried corn but I cook the bacon till crisp and then crumble it. I don't use bacon grease. I sautee the corn in a teflon pan with a little vegetable oil until its nicely caramelized. Then I add in the crumbled bacon and pepper. I leave out the salt.

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  2. Your story brought back such warm memories for me of my own grandparents.I wish that I had asked more questions of them before they were gone. I love fried corn also. Everything taste better from a cast iron skillet.

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  3. Bacon grease is the secret, Gina, to the good taste of Alabama style fried corn. It tastes even better if you serve it with an Alabama slammer ( amaretto, sloe gin and southern comfort ) :-)

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  4. Fried Corn: fry some bacon til crisp and put it aside. in the grease, fry up one onion per four people. Put bacon back in pan. Now add corn off the cob to the pan, stir till hot through and through, stir in a little cream, yes, the heavy stuff, and season generously with salt and pepper. I don't use sugar anymore cuz most corn is supersweet. you will feel totally decadent.

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