• Nettie

Sweet Carolina Corn

During this July's drive to the North Carolina Coast and back again to our Tuckasegee cabin, I delighted in checking out the height of the corn in the fields along our routes, eagerly anticipating a taste. My mother always served Silver Queen, which is a sweet variety with small, white kernels. Her corn pudding was so sweet, I sometimes had left overs for dessert instead of pie, adding a bit of salty ham; what a delicious combination!

Southern Living Magazine reminds readers not to boil fresh corn for more than a minute or two, and I agree one needs only to heat it up (how else is the butter going to melt?). Of course, butter from a local dairy farm is likely to soften easily, so it will be ready to melt down your chin whenever you are. This past week, I stopped by Peaches 'n Cream to buy some Brown Creek Creamery butter,* and came away with their fudge. Funny, how that happens. The peach and ice cream stand is also where my first, 2020, spotting of fresh, Silver Queen for sale happened; hooray!

Of course, the summer corn season also ushers in thoughts of fish fries, hushpuppies, corn bread, shrimp-and-grits, and other, southern favorites. For this reason, in July, our travels focus on learning more about grist mills in North Carolina. These mills range from large operations that sell directly to grocery chains, to those who sell their products online and in co-ops, to charming, historical mills that produce old favorites, such as grits and a variety of flours, as well as time-saving, sweet mixes for making muffins, cookies, gingerbread, and scones. These historical mills are open to the public, and they provide a fun (and open-aired) historical record for families to enjoy and discuss; how does a cob of corn get into a hushpuppy?

Note* Our grist mill map includes mills, stores that sell locally produced grains, and bakeries that use locally produced flours in their bread. That's why I was looking for butter. I'm sure there are a lot more bakers using these wonderful products; if you know of some we missed, please email us at riverforkmedia@gmail.com.

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