Down in southern Kentucky, we have supper in the evening. We don't have dinner, because that's the meal we have around noontime, the one everyone else calls "lunch". Folks may skimp on breakfast and dinner, but traditionally supper's got to be big and it’s got to be good.

It's a holdover from the days when farming was the main occupation. At night, when the menfolk came in from a hard day in the fields, they were tired and hungry, and the meal served to them had to be substantial.

Though we didn't grow up on a farm, my mother did, and she learned early on how to cook up a real southern-style supper. Many times we'd get the usual fare you might see on a Kentucky table: fried chicken, boiled squash, fried green tomatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and so on. During the summer and fall months, when corn was in season, we could count on it being on the table in some form or another.

Sometimes we'd have corn cooked "on-the-cob" style, and other times we'd have Fried Corn. Its name is a bit of a misnomer; the corn isn’t actually fried, but rather cooked with water and boiled down. Nevertheless, it makes a great side dish or, if you really like fresh corn, a main course. It's certainly my favorite way to cook fresh corn.


One good-sized ear of fresh corn for each person to be served, plus one more to round things out.

One tablespoon of butter (or, if you must, margarine) for each ear of corn.

Shuck the ears of corn and take care to remove as much of the cornsilk as you can. Then, using a sharp knife, cut the corn from each ear. Place the cut corn and butter in a large saucepan, and add enough water such that you have at least a half-inch of water above the corn. This will result in corn with a crisp texture; if you like softer corn, add more water, up to an inch above the corn.

Bring to the boil over medium heat. Once boiling, cover the pan and reduce the heat to a low simmer, stirring frequently. Cook the corn until all the water is gone. The point here is to have nothing left in the pan but the corn and the butter. This requires keeping an eye on the proceedings as the water boils away – once most of the water's gone, it's easy for the corn to start sticking and burning. This is not good.

When there’s nothing left in the pan but corn and butter, salt to taste and serve immediately; fried corn is at its best when it’s good and hot. It's a different way to cook and serve fresh corn; the effect is similar to corn-on-the-cob, but with a subtle difference in flavor.

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