Saturday, August 02, 2008
Reason #4 Why I Love Nebraska
The picture was my view as a child. I grew up on a farm, and spent my summers irrigating with my brother. I'd pick up irrigation socks, watch him fix pivots, and driving through corn fields like this one.
When the sweet corn was tasseled out and ready to be "put up" as my grandma would say, we'd gather all the neighbors' kids and whatever cousins would be staying with us for the week and hop on the back of my dad's truck with huge Rubbermaid trash cans. He'd set us loose in the field, with the object of filling up the trash can and dumping it in the back of the truck until it was full. Back and forth we'd go, racing to fill up the truck. Foxtails would stick to the bottoms of our jeans and socks, mud would cake our shoes, and the early morning breeze would keep us cool... but not clean.
I remember the smell of raw sweet corn... sweet and juicy. But the smell of the cornfield always made me sneeze and by the time the back of the truck was full I would be stuffed-up and miserable.
Dad would drive us back home after the truck was overflowing with picked corn. We'd sit on the edges of the pickup's back end and we'd start shucking away, watching the husks and silk blow away in the wind. In the back of the truck we'd stay, until all the corn was shucked. Then I'd get stuck cleaning the corn in the ice cold water... brushing and scrubbing the silk away. (It drove me crazy!).
10 minutes of boiling and another 10 minutes of cooling later, the electric knife would come out, and the corn would come off the cob and be vacuumed sealed into bags for freezing. Piles and piles of bags are what I remember... and the smell of cooked sweet corn. And sticky hands. Really sticky hands.
I will miss the corn.