That Corn

I’m one of those weird people who enjoys going to the grocery store. We’ve discussed this before, I think, when I’ve mentioned my affection for grocery lists that are organized by aisle. And I think that at this point in my life, organizing a grocery list according to the store layout is just part of who I am. It’s what I do. Sort of like the way I get teary-eyed whenever I hear “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Or the way I clap my hands when I see a Popeye’s three-piece fried chicken meal, spicy and extra crispy, with red beans and rice on the side.

What? You don’t do that?

Last spring, however, I fell way off my grocery game. Between family, work, and a big ole book deadline, I quit planning our meals like I typically like to do. I made lots of little trips to the grocery store instead of one big trip at the beginning of each week, and I’d pretty much plan dinner while I was putting stuff in my grocery cart.

I’ll go ahead and admit that the whole “planning in the store” method is not exactly cost-efficient. Not to mention that it leads to impulse purchases like fancy noodles that you can’t even pronounce and a significant surplus of cheeses.

This year, though, the grocery side of things has been under control again (my laundry, however, is still a source of agony and no small degree of shame). I usually make a grocery list on Monday mornings, and I shop for the week on Monday afternoons. Shopping on Mondays seems to work pretty well for me, primarily because I LOATHE AND DETEST going to the grocery store on the weekends.

(Hi. How are you? Welcome to this week’s installment of First World Suburban Problems.)

(I kind of loathe myself right now.)

Anyway, this has all been a very long preamble so that I can tell you that ever since I’ve gotten back on a grocery shopping schedule, I’ve been trying to add a little variety to our vegetable consumption. I’m the first to admit that I fell into a major asparagus rut over the last two or three years, and last year’s failure to plan meals made the rut even deeper. Asparagus is just so easy – but it was getting old. And since there are a lot of very nice and tasty vegetables out there, I’ve been trying to embrace a few of the ones I haven’t cooked in a long time.

Which brings us to corn.

Last week corn was on sale at Publix, and I decided that I’d grill it and serve it with steaks. The only problem was that it rained and rained the day that I was planning to grill the steaks, so I ended up cooking them in the skillet (DELICIOUS) – but I needed a plan B for my corn. I’d made some chipotle butter earlier in the day (that makes it sound like I churned butter – but it’s just 1 stick softened butter combined with 1/4 cup finely sliced green onions and 2 or 3 pieces of canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped), thinking that I was going to slather that butter all over the corn before I grilled it. Only I did not in fact grill it. So I was in the throes of a corn dilemma.

Here’s what I ended up doing.

I shucked the corn, cut it off of the cob (I had six ears) and I did that whole thing Mama used to do where she used the back side of the knife to “juice” the corn a little bit. That sounds sort of gross, I know, but it adds so much flavor. I put a skillet on medium heat, and once it was hot, I added about a tablespoon of canola oil and a tablespoon of butter. Once the butter melted, I threw all the corn (and its liquid) into the skillet and stirred it around for a minute or so. Then I added (these are totally estimates – just go with whatever tastes good to you) 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of cracked black pepper. I stirred that around a bit, and then I added 3/4 cup (-ish) of half and half, reduced the heat, and stirred a little bit more.

Recipes aren’t nearly as riveting in paragraph form, are they?

Sorry. I’m just trying to remember what I did as I’m typing this. Probably not the strongest method.

For the next 15 or so minutes, I just kept an eye on the corn. I’d stir – taste – add a pinch more salt or a smidge more half and half. And once the corn was tender and seasoned like we like it, I turned off the heat and HERE IS THE IMPORTANT PART: I scooped about a tablespoon of that chipotle butter on top of the corn. I gave it time to melt, then stirred it all together.


It was so good, y’all. And while I know that the half and half didn’t hurt, I really think that it was the chipotle butter that sent that corn over the top. DELICIOUS.

The day after our steak and corn dinner, I was in the kitchen when D got home from work. When I turned around to tell him hello, he had sort of a far-away look in his eyes, like he was thinking about something important and trying to figure out how to put it into words.

“What is it?” I asked. “Is something going on?”

He stared into space for a few seconds before he asked me a question.

“Do you know what I thought about all day today?”

“I have no idea,” I answered. “What?”

“THAT CORN,” he replied.

I rest my case.

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  1. Aunt Annie says:

    You always make me laugh. Thank you.

  2. Amanda says:

    I love a grocery list organized by aisle too and our Publix “reset” has me in a tizzy!

  3. I love, love, LOVE this post. And that chipotle butter? Going for it tomorrow.

    Finally…I am that grocery store person too.


  4. Make me some and ship it to Missouri, mmmk? : )

  5. nlynch says:

    Your asparagus rut led to my asparagus rut which I am still in!
    Th corn sounds delish and I will have to try it!

  6. Whitney says:

    So I love some corn on the cob….but I do not know what ‘juicing’ the corn is……
    Enlighten me, please?!

    • After you cut the corn off of the cob, turn your knife around – and with the dull side, scrape the corn cob all the way around. All of the “corn milk” (that’s what Mama calls it) will run out – and since it’s a little sweet, it makes the corn extra good.

  7. Let me say, a surplus of cheese is a beautiful thing. The corn sounds delicious but my mind is stuck on needing to go buy cheese.

  8. Kim N says:

    Love your blog. The corn sounds great. It is called the old fashioned cream corn with a taste of new style. Sounds delicious…

  9. Tracey says:

    sooo happy there are other people out there that will admit to the grocery aisle list! been living by it for 30 years! one day a man asked me where pimentos were located. i looked at my clipboard & told him aisle 6. his mouth said “thank you” but his face said “you are a FREAK.”
    definitely going to try that butter, sophie! happy friday!

  10. BethA says:

    You’re my hero, Sophie! A grocery aisle list!!! I guess that’s something we all didn’t think about in our 20s, right? Oh, well, Mamaw has to go take her liver pill. Have a good weekend!

  11. Nancy D says:

    I so-o-o-o long to take your place in the asparagus rut. Fresh asparagus doesn’t often make it on to the truck that comes maybe every two weeks to the grocery store in our 2-weeks-from-everywhere town. Sign. Corn, on the other hand grows in a lot of back yards around here. Yum. Chipolte butter, extra yum.

  12. a new twist on my favorite vegetable. I’ll be trying that corn recipe this weekend.

  13. Kimberly/OKC says:

    Loved that recipe and my family loves corn so I’m gonna try it. I have a locally owned grocery store that I have been shopping in since we moved to this side of town and they have NEVER reset in 19 years! I could tell you where every single item is in that store AND I have been known to make it there and back with a gallon of milk in 5 minutes flat because they pride themselves on having lots of lanes open and available!!! Hey, don’t be jealous, y’all!!!

  14. While I’m thrilled to pieces about the corn, I’m here to discuss Scandal.

    1. I don’t know what to believe about Cyrus anymore.
    2. I just don’t know that I can believe Annie Banks’ husband is a killer. That is Bryan McKenzie. HE IS AN INDEPENDENT COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT. He gave her a blender.
    3. Who do you think the mole is?
    4. OH MELLIE.

  15. Hey Sophie! This sounds delicious! Can you let me know where you find the peppers in that sauce please (brand and what store)? I’m going to make this week.

    We are buying a new home and with a 2 yr old ive also been doing the same thing at the store and we spend SO much more than we used to. I went back and tallied our expenditures and it’s just sickening. We are reigning that in, and a weekly meal plan really helps. I’m excited to save money and also avoid all the mini trips to the store.

    • AngAK says:

      chipotle peppers in adobo are in small cans in the Mexican food aisle. by the salsas and other canned peppers. many different brands. very spicy.

  16. tammy says:

    Isn’t it the best when your man is still thinking about something new you made the night before?

    The next time you grill corn, try it Mexican style. Google “elote”. It is all kinds of good!

  17. I certainly hope you can duplicate that experience! It sounds fabulous.

  18. So I go shopping for a whole month at a time because we live in Podunk, West Texas and drive an hour to go grocery shopping. I have this great app on my phone called Grocery IQ that organizes the list by aisle for me! Sometimes, you have to fix one or two but then it will remember where you put them and its wonderful! It also keeps track of coupons for you and as you check it because you put it in your cart, it will ask you the price (which it remembered from last time, but you double check its right or enter it if its new) and then keep a running total.
    I know it sounds high tech and crazy but it saves me because I shop for the whole month and try not to spend more than $270. I don’t always meet that goal, but usually we can take some gas money or something and fix it when I go over. Or, I put stuff back.

  19. carrie says:

    long live the corn! i {heart} that vegetable. and i {heart} this post. i did find it rather riveting, by the way. it was probably the butter….

    and the far away look your husband had in his eye? that’s better than a 5 star rating or something. go paula deen! go boomama!

    p.s. i thought my granny, and now mama, were the only people that said (or even knew about) “milking” corn on the cob. thanks for the memory! ;)

  20. Donna G says:

    HEB had corn at 6 for $1 yesterday so I took three ears and boiled them for supper and as I was putting Promise on them I remembered I had some basil butter in the fridge and used that instead. Quite tasty. A lovely change from just butter and pepper. I cut the kernels off the last one and it’s in the fridge calling my name as we speak…

  21. Jennifer says:

    First of all, there’s no other way to make a grocery list other than to jot it down first on a fridge note pad and then make a second list that’s organized by sections of the store, ending always with the freezer section because who wants to deal with softenened ice cream?! But I digress… I am going to make this corn. You have inspired me via corn. I’m sure you’ve achieved no greater accomplishment than this.

  22. Oh Sophie. You are the delight in my Sunday morning. My little Sophie was just trying to help me make my grocery list. She’s six, mind you. And I shoved that list aside to have my coffee and McDonald’s biscuit my Man brought in and sat down to enjoy a little reading before we skipped church to get the groceries. There are none. Groceries, that is. Like, no bread for my morning Smucker’s PB&J on wheat. It’s dire. Seriously. My coffee has no 2% in it right now. But my twenty year old and her best friend/practically adopted daughter of ours had a car accident yesterday. That sorta cuts into your list writing and grocery shopping. They’re good. They’re okay. Car, not so much. But the overall accident could’ve been far worse. And this is digressing terribly. So terribly. My whole point is that my grocery list was in dire need of help. DIRE. When the six-year-old starts asking for a little creativity in the veggie department it’s getting real up in here! She doesn’t eat many veggies! This has been a source of great woe and challenge for me.
    And here you are with some corn deliciousness. It’s like God smiled right down on me and my lack of groceries and need in the list writing department.

    Then I cracked slap up at the end. Because I can just picture that look. So serious. And now I must have some of that corn that caused the look. I’m off to finish my very organized according to aisle grocery list. I get it, Sister. I get it.

  23. I made a corn dish very similar to this at Thanksgiving last year, and it earned the moniker “OMG Corn,” because, yeah. It was that good. I rejoice with you, Sophie! Long live the corn kernel!

  24. Laura Holt says:

    Gosh, I wish I could PIN your chipotle butter recipe. And the corn recipe. With a picture.