Wednesday, September 24, 2008

End of summer poll results

It was a win by a nose situation, a pure drag race down to the last second. What will we miss the most? And it’s a roll of the dice, an even split, a draw, no one gets their chicken dinner. Or do they all win, and all get a place IN our chicken dinner? I guess that’s a matter of perspective.

By only the slightest of margins we have decided that Ohio sweet corn will be our most highly exulted summer indulgence. Peaches and heirloom tomatoes are right behind, and in their proper place as far as I’m concerned. My personal vote went to the peach because for the past few weeks I’ve had a wonderfully ripe, soft, juicy peach for breakfast, and it will fully enrage me a few weeks down the road when I grab peach from the ice box that is harder than diamonds, dry, and has a flavor reminiscent of a cardboard box. This is what makes all 3 of these local beauties so special, the drop-off in quality is almost unbelievable as we move out of season.

While I like my peaches, I fully endorse sweet corn as the winner. I can think of a great many uses for sweet corn, places where sweet corn either stars or plays a superb supporting role. When I think of peaches, they are best in their virgin state. The fuzzy skin, juice on your shirt, and giant pit are all what makes a peach great. Cooking it, peeling it, puree it, changing it in any way seems to detract from it’s appeal. The same goes for those super ripe, fragile, busting at the seams heirloom tomatoes. They are so very good just sliced with some salt and pepper that turning them into soup, or salsa, or sauce just doesn’t do them justice. On the other hand, corn on the cob is great at a picnic, but that super sweet ear of corn is equally great in a soup, or as a corn cake, or off the cob and sauteed. It’s my opinion that what we enjoy about sweet corn isn’t diminished when we manipulate it, and for this reason it will be mine, and many others most cherished summer indulgence that will all too soon disappear.

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