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The Anatomy of Corn

I really meant it about my local Sainsbury. Not a can or jar of baby sweet corn in sight on the return trip either.

Today I was at Morrison's, which has a much, much larger preserved vegetable section. There on the top shelf, above all the canned kernels, I found them. They were labeled "baby cobs".

I've spent my life thinking that cobs were what what kernels of corn grew on. I wouldn't want to eat them without the kernels. That's why it's called "corn on the cob". Corn. And cob.

So I'm not sure what to make of these tins of "baby cobs", word-wise. It's true, they only have nascent kernels, so perhaps they are more baby cob than they are corn.




I'm going to a food event tomorrow. i've been thinking of it as a day-conference, but it really isn't. It involves book readings, rants, burlesque performers, a cocktail bar, history, forecasts, promotion of good causes, historical table etiquette, and cabaret music. Each performer only has fifteen minutes. And then there's lunch.

It's sold out now. Should I have told you about it when you still had time to book tickets? (I don't say this to taunt. I really don't always think ahead as to how some of you might want to do these things.)

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
kerrypolka
Feb. 11th, 2011 01:47 pm (UTC)
Should I have told you about it when you still had time to book tickets?

YES. >:(

(seriously though, I hope it is fun!)
owlfish
Feb. 11th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
I shall try very hard to think of other people when booking things for myself in the future!

(It should be memorable, whatever else it is!)
steer
Feb. 11th, 2011 01:47 pm (UTC)
I'm confused. I still think that cobs are what corn grows on.
owlfish
Feb. 11th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
I'm not disagreeing. I'm just having to reconcile what I previously thought of as an inedible part of an ear of corn with labeling which tells me I should eat it. It always was a cob, in retrospect; but I thought of it as "baby sweet corn", never "baby cob" before this.
steer
Feb. 11th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
Eating the cob also ruins the classic "what food do you remove the outside part, cook the inside part then eat the outside part and throw away the inside part" riddle.
owlfish
Feb. 11th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
I have never heard this riddle before, but I'm glad to see it backs me up on the conceptual inedibility of cobs.
kerrypolka
Feb. 11th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
Data point: this was always "baby corn" for me (US West Coast) growing up.
owlfish
Feb. 11th, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
The "sweet" bit may have crept in there while living in the UK. Now I can't think anymore: baby corn or baby sweet corn? I used to be deeply certain about the labeling of corns, coming as I do from a place with lots of it.
pfy
Feb. 11th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
I have only ever seen baby sweetcorn in the fresh vegetable section.

The OED agrees with you that the 'cob' is the thing on which the grains grow. I suppose you have both corn and cob in the jar, so it's not exactly inaccurate, just odd.

Where I grew up, a cob was also a sort of round bread roll.
owlfish
Feb. 11th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
They're also a kind of hazelnut.

It didn't occur to me to look for labeling in the fresh vegetable section, this being a product I've only ever bought in cans. Next time, I shall look there in case of alternative or additional labeling evidence!
clanwilliam
Feb. 11th, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
They're also a horse type (not breed).
owlfish
Feb. 11th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
A foal would not fit inside this tin. Just as well.
desperance
Feb. 11th, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
I was going to say this: that over here I have never seen them tinned, but they're easy to find fresh. If Morrison's has them (and mine does), then Sainsbury's most surely will.
billyabbott
Feb. 11th, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC)
I kept meaning to buy a Mixed Grill ticket but singularly failed, despite hearing about it on twitter repeatedly.

Have fun, it looks like it will be difficult not to :)
owlfish
Feb. 15th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC)
It sounds like there will be more of them, quite possibly this year.
keira_online
Feb. 12th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
My local Sainsburys has tinned baby corn cobs in the pasta/noodle/sauces isle. It was with the stirfry sauces and noodles and tinned water chestnuts.
Most other tinned veg is in the next isle.
momist
Feb. 15th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
Fresh baby corn (cobs)
I was hoping for some revelation as to why the baby corn had to be of the tinned variety. I've not seen that here for a while (but then I haven't been looking). However, we regularly buy the fresh ones in Booths, pre-packed in a similar way to fine beans or bobby beans. They seem to be available in all seasons. I must check where they are grown - probably Kenya or somewhere similar.
owlfish
Feb. 15th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Fresh baby corn (cobs)
Until desperence mentioned it, it never occurred to me to look in the fresh produce section for it. Presumably because I'd only ever bought it in cans before. I have no idea whether or not, when I was young, it wasn't available fresh at all in our local supermarkets.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )