The last of the Michigan corn was gone yesterday, gobbled by two young corn eaters, faces smeared with all the sweet goodness of summer's best treat. My grandfather ate corn with a similar gusto, kernels left on his tie, cheeks and occasionally found later in his hair, the universal corn glue, butter, responsible for the leftover treasures. Corn is tossed into salad, mixed with pasta and pureed into soup, but it's really best just off the cob, with butter and salt, recently plucked from Charlie Brown's corn patch in Michigan. It's true, his name is really Charlie Brown and the girls delight in eating Charlie Brown's corn, as if that somehow makes it even better.
Of course the last of the corn is always noted, in a melancholy voice, by the family biographer. As if we will never again have corn I toast the end of summer, waving my butter covered stalk in the air, smiling through my tears as I struggle to find the right words, looking to the heavens for inspiration, as the children and Jack bravely move on, teeth first, into the yellow sweetness.
We bought six ears of corn at the farmer's market today, from a Michigan farmer, presumably not named Charlie Brown (although I did not actually ask). I'm certain this is fine corn although, as evidenced by the remaining five pounds of blueberries in the refrigerator, next to the bag of cherries, the peaches, the nectarines and the green beans (tomatoes always left on the windowsill), things really do taste better when we buy them from cartoon characters in Michigan.
Tonight's corn was steamed, stripped from the cob and tossed with pasta, tomatoes, mint, basil, chives, a little lemon juice and olive oil. Summer, it just can't last long enough.