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Carol Schmidt


Oct 12, 2003, 10:29 AM

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Corn on the cob in Mexico

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I wasn't able to eat undigestible foods like corn for years, and when I arrived in San Miguel a year and a half ago I really coveted the sidewalk vendors' offerings of roasted corn on the cob, slathered with unrefrigerated mayonnaise, rolled in grated white cheese, and sprinkled with what looked like chile power and lime. Not considering the health factors of that unrefrigerated mayo and cheese, I couldn't eat corn anyway, and it looked so good!

Conditions change, I had an operation that improved my gut, and now I can eat corn and other formerly forbidden foods. My first trip to the Tuesday Market I bought fresh corn on the cob and came home and steamed it, spread on (refrigerated) Hellman's, rolled it in grated white cheese, and added chile powder and lime.

The corn was so tough I didn't want to eat it!

The few times I've tried to buy fresh corn on the cob here it was just as tough as the old "field corn" we grew in my native Michigan, to feed the chickens. Humans got "sweet corn," much younger and tenderer, smaller ears, full packed kernels that would squirt when you pressed them, not the shriveled huge kernels of field corn that were practically indestructible.

Is all corn sold in produce stands and markets in Mexico the tough huge "field corn" I've experienced, or is it possible to get tender young "sweet corn" anyplace here?

Thanks,

Carol Schmidt



Rolly


Oct 12, 2003, 11:17 AM

Post #2 of 12 (2464 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Corn on the cob in Mexico

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If there is any sweet corn, I haven't found it. But I have come to like what I get from a rolling vendor who comes by the house about 7 each evening. He sells both on the cob and cut in a cup. I like the cup with butter rather than mayo. Sometimes he has Mexican creme which I really like.

Rolly Pirate


jennifer rose

Oct 12, 2003, 11:51 AM

Post #3 of 12 (2458 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Corn on the cob in Mexico

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The corn on the cob sold at the produce stands is NOT the sweet corn to which you've become accustomed. Costco, Gigante and Walmart sometimes have sweet corn, but it's already been shucked and has usually turned starchier by the time it reaches the consumer. Frozen sweet corn is sometimes available at these stores.

There remains the alternative of growing it yourself. Simply get yourself some sweet corn seed, a spare corner of dirt, and plant away. But lest you entertain the idea of growing it as a cash crop, understand that others have tried to do so and ended up with a lot of unsold sweet corn on their hands. The preference for American-style sweet corn among the rank-and-file customer just isn't there.


Carron

Oct 12, 2003, 1:20 PM

Post #4 of 12 (2451 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Corn on the cob in Mexico

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Basically you are right about the kind of corn sold here in Mexico. It is field corn like you fed your livestock back in Michigan and it does take some getting used to. It is not sweet and juicy and yellow. It is drier, whiter, with smaller kernels. Probably why the Mexicans freely add so many more delicious condiments! It is an acquired taste. As long as you don't have false teeth, you will eventually get accustomed to it.


Carol Schmidt


Oct 12, 2003, 10:46 PM

Post #5 of 12 (2436 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Corn on the cob in Mexico

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Sigh. Thanks, everybody, even if I didn't get the answer I hoped for, some secret place where I cuold get sweet corn.

As for planting some, I do have a rooftop with a few planters of geraniums, bougainvillea, etc., but I remember that to ensure the corn gets fertilized you need a square at least six feet on each side with probably 50 plants, at least--I can't imagine getting 50 more planters up on my roof! Think I'll check out the frozen food section.

Carol Schmidt


Guapo Gabacho


Oct 13, 2003, 4:55 AM

Post #6 of 12 (2435 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Corn on the cob in Mexico

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In Reply To
The preference for American-style sweet corn among the rank-and-file customer just isn't there.

I believe it is called xenophobia, but Mexicans say it is tradition.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.


Uncle Jack


Oct 13, 2003, 5:11 AM

Post #7 of 12 (2434 views)

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When does......

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.....ethnocentricity become xenophobia!

At the elote stand on the corner or the NAFTA barginning table?

uj


Carron

Oct 13, 2003, 9:21 AM

Post #8 of 12 (2417 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Corn on the cob in Mexico

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You might try steaming the corn for a lot longer than you would need to with the sweet yellow stuff we are accustomed to in the US. My Mexican daughter-in-law does this. In fact, she steams corn for about an hour. It comes out "less tough" though never really tender.

Remember that Mexico is where corn originated. It's the real thing here. The stuff we love in the US is scientifically improved!


PANCHAO

Oct 13, 2003, 3:01 PM

Post #9 of 12 (2400 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Corn on the cob in Mexico

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Do try and go to Costco or Sam's Club in the frozen food section. I have seen sweet corn there.


esperanza

Oct 15, 2003, 12:07 AM

Post #10 of 12 (2377 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Corn on the cob in Mexico

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Twice this year I've had really good corn here. Both times I've bought it from a vendor with a truckload, and both times I've asked the vendor when the corn was cut. The first time he told me he'd cut it that morning; the second time I was told that it had been cut the previous evening. I asked the vendors to partially open every ear I bought so that I could make certain that the corn was plump (if the centers of the individual kernels are concave, the corn is going to be tough for sure). Neither set of ears bore any resemblance to the sugar-sweet Coachella Valley corn that I loved so much in California, but both sets were tender and delicious after 5 minutes or so in boiling water. I usually like my corn naked--no butter, salt, etc--but I also like it with mayonnaise, grated cheese, salt and chile as Carol describes. Or once in a blue moon slathered with butter and salted. Or in atole de grano, or...hmmm...looks like I like corn any old way. And I do believe that buying it fresh off the truck is the trick to tenderness.


http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









(This post was edited by esperanza on Oct 15, 2003, 2:19 PM)


Carron

Oct 15, 2003, 11:34 AM

Post #11 of 12 (2364 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Corn on the cob in Mexico

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When I moved to a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in Houston many years ago, I began shopping at the large multi-ethnic Fiesta supermercado where my neighbors shopped. The first few times I was astonished to watch Mexican shoppers standing in the produce department rapidly tearing off the husks and tassles from fresh ears of corn, dropping them on the floor, and carefully inspecting each cleaned ear before putting it into the shopping cart. If I had done such a thing in Kroger or Safeway they would have put me in jail for malicious damage of valuable merchandise! Then I realized that the Fiesta store probably picked up the husks and re-packaged them for sale as tamale wrappers and made maybe double the profit per ear!


TomG

Oct 18, 2003, 9:14 AM

Post #12 of 12 (2337 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Corn on the cob in Mexico

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Yes, from the time you pick sweet corn until the time you get it in the pot the sugars are turning to starch. Anybody that has been close to the source knows what it is supposed to taste like. So if you like the tender and juicy sweetness of sweet corn this is the true answer.

Mexicans up here like USA style sweet corn and generally like the Peaches n' Cream type (white and yellow mix) better than the all yellow - it is more sweet. But then the folks up here us a lot of culinary shortcuts that possibly would be frowned on back home. They tend to cook with what they have. Maria is making homemade bread now and throwing GrapeNuts in the dough because she's got it (it's good). It's funny, but people are showing up on her doorstep in Anamosa, Iowa (where Grant Wood lived and painted "American Gothic") and asking for recipes. The next Iowan who wants to paint an undated portrait of the essential midwesterner might just be painting una morena with a loaf of bread, and su esposo in camoflage with a fiberglass bow for deer hunting - both standing in front of a 4X4 supercab pickup.

Maybe the Mexican attachment for the white elote is alma. The elote with mayo, cheese, chili and limon is downright delicious. I would not trade it for salted sweetcorn and butter. We do eat the Peaches n' Cream sweetcorn Mexican style up here, and it is great. As for the elotes on the street: too good to pass up. I look for water tanks that actually got hot enough, and then make a judgement on the mayo jar. A big gallon sized jar close to empty on a warm day could be (probably is) gamey, a jar close to full is a better choice. I'm really making a circumstancial judgement about how long the mayo has been opened. The second choice is how much mayo - less bacteria is better than more. I probably would not order a typical 1/4 inch slathering of mayo unless a new jar had been opened in front of my eyes. The cheese is pretty dry and doesn't worry me. This is an explaination, not a recommendation. So far, so good.
 
 
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