Life, Honesty, and the Very Best Way to Cook Corn on the Cob

The Best Way to Cook Corn on the Cob, on

– Yes, I’m sharing with the world the best way to cook corn on the cob. You’re welcome. 😉 –

Also, I need to ask you all a question, which is located below in the last paragraph. Please reply in the comments, because your thoughts are important to me.

Oh, life. I love you, but you can be a mercurial brat sometimes.

We’re used to hearing that it’s the simple things in life that get us where we’re going, the things we’re supposed to pay attention to. It’s the sound of birds chirping in the trees, or the scent of a field of flowers as you’re driving by in the interstate that make everyday life an exercise in beauty. Well today, a series of little things are piling up, threatening to drown me in a shallow pool of my own silty anxiety.

Instead of peacefully chirping birds, I’ve got crow fighting over something in the yard, making noises similar to a squeaky toy caught in a wood chipper. I’d love to smell a field of flowers, or even a single rose, but sweaty, shirtless, beer-bellied workers are taking down a tree across the street from my apartment, pummeling my senses with the odor of moldy leaves and sawdust (along with a charming string of expletives screamed at one another every two minutes over the sound of their constant chainsawing).

This might not seem like a lot of badness in the grand scheme of things, but it comes on the heels of a very stressful weekend that was engulfed by a serious – and mysterious – family illness. Many times this weekend I felt like I was the only one standing, alone in the open, wondering where the rest of the world went. How come I have to deal with all of this by myself? Where is my support system? Why me?

The answer is always the same: That’s just the way it is. It’s your lot, this time. Because life is a dodgeball game and we all get hit in the face once in a while. Accept it.

Sometimes I struggle with what to put here in this blog. Some of you like the happy posts, the bubbly Hey! Life is awesome all the time! I’m in loooooooooove with the world! That’s great, really, and I actually do love the world so strongly that I often feel like I’m going to burst from the joy of it all. The problem is that happy, sappy stuff is so easy to write that it makes me want to tear out my eyeballs and replace them with bingo cage balls. The hard writing, the meaty stuff that exposes something worth reading, that’s what I’d like to put here. Hank calls it “writing with a capital W.” I just call it being honest.

Every time I write a post here that exposes my emotional nether regions, two things happen: I get a string of comments from you all, sharing your thoughts, feelings, and general you-ness. I love that part of blogging. The other thing that happens is that I get a handful of people unsubscribing from my feed, with comments like, “u r too negative.” That’s fine too, but I don’t like feeling like I’ve alienated my readers. At the same time, though, if someone doesn’t want to read my honesty, they really don’t want to read me. And that leaves me in a quandary.

***Question – please respond in the comments:

So, folks, how many of you bother to read these bits and bobs that appear before the recipes? Or do you just scroll past all these random words and head straight for the culinary goodies? For those of you that read what I have to say, what are your thoughts on emotional honesty in a food blog? Do you find the personal stuff worth reading, or is it just whiney drivel? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


And now for something a little tastier: the freshest, most dazzling way to cook corn on the cob

One of the bright spots over the past week has been the bumper crop of fresh corn at our farmers market. Our local farmers grow corn so sweet it negates any need for dessert, and to celebrate its jubilant qualities, I’ve decided to share the best way to cook corn on the cob (just in case you weren’t aware of this magical method, which is really quite simple but oh-so-amazing). When seasoned, coated with butter, and steamed in foil, the sugar in each kernel cooks into a little explosion of salty, caramelized joy, bursting with flavor as you dive in for another bite. Really, it’s so good that I could just eat four ears of corn for dinner. And, that’s probably just what I’m going to do tonight.

4.6 from 7 reviews
The Very Best Way to Cook Corn on the Cob
Recipe type: Grilling
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
There's only one BEST way to cook corn on the cob, either on the grill or in the oven. It just takes a little butter, salt, pepper, and about 20 minutes. If you're vegan, skip the butter and use an equal amount of Earth Balance or 1 teaspoon of olive oil per ear of corn. Makes 4 ears of corn.
  • Four 12-inch square pieces of foil
  • 4 whole fresh ears of corn, peeled and silk removed
  • 1/4 cup of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (optional, but well worth it)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat grill, or preheat oven to 400°F (204°C) .
  2. Lay out the four pieces of foil and set an ear of corn in the middle of each one.
  3. Divide the butter evenly between the four ears of corn. Coat each ear evenly with butter.
  4. Sprinkle each ear with a few pinches of thyme, salt, and pepper, making sure to leave enough for a second sprinkling after turning. Turn the ears over and sprinkle with the remaining thyme, salt, and pepper.
  5. Wrap the ears tightly in foil and set them on a large rimmed baking sheet to catch any dripping butter. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, turning each ear of corn every 5 minutes during its stint in the oven to make for even butter absorption.
  6. Remove the corn from the oven and unwrap each ear. Slice each cob into individual pieces, if you like. Serve immediately.


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Comments from other ninjas:

  1. Cheryl Bennett says

    I love the “whiney drivel”. It’s real. People that write as if life is nothing but rainbows & sunshine are fake. Sorry guys, but that is not real life. Sometimes life is grand… and sometimes, it sucks.
    If all people want is a recipe, then look it up on the internet at a food site. Writing about something engages people, at least it does for me. Don’t change a thing…

  2. Kerry Dexter says

    to answer your question: you have to write what’s right for you, in your own voice. I do read the stuff before the recipes, and, since you did ask, I’d like to see the telling of your stories a bit more interwoven with what you have to say about food. that’s what *I’d* like. you’re a gifted writer, so I know you can do that should you choose. but it may not be your choice, or your voice.

    • David says

      Nothing better than corn on the cb!

      I do my corn a bit different than most.

      Boil a large pot of water, toss in my cobs and count to 25 and serve with butter.

      That’s it!

      Like eating creamed corn on the cob!!

  3. Genie says

    If I didn’t want to read about the blogger behind the recipes, I would just go look in a cookbook or go to or something. Continue telling stories, please.

  4. Melanie says

    I read it all and want to keep reading it all. BTW, have you ever tried corn cooked in a smoker? Amazing.

  5. Vera Marie Badertscher says

    I read “the stuff”, but would like to see it tied a bit to the recipe to follow. As to the perfect corn–you beat me to it. I was thinking last night I should do something about roasteneers on my Ancestors in Aprons site–purely nostalgia because I have never had a really good ear of corn in Arizona. but maybe I’ll post mine anyhow, because it has a slight difference for the grill to make sure it doesn’t get dried out.

  6. Angelina says

    I read the writing above the recipes. I want whatever is genuine to you at the moment you’re writing it. There is not a lot of authentic writing going on on food blogs – but those that are just writing with complete honesty and in their real voice – they stick out a mile and those are the ones I bother to actually read. Yours included. One of my favorite posts you ever wrote was from ages ago – you wrote about your health issues back then. So – write in your voice about whatever the hell you’re thinking about or going through or celebrating. All of it.

  7. Christy says

    I always read the “stuff” it is what connects the author with the recipe for me. My two cents is that emotional honesty is what keeps people interested.

  8. Diana says

    Only 4ears! And yes I read the story,the real story. It’s what draws people to you and your wonderful recipes. We love honesty. Especially in this day and age! Would that more people
    Were honest. I am new to your blog and don’t know what your illness is , but will pray for your strength . Believe me I know what it is to feel soooo bod. Hope those loud men have left and
    You now have some peace. Remember sharing helps to lessen the load. Hugs!

  9. steph says

    Thanks you SO MUCH everyone. I’ve been dealing with a family crisis so I wasn’t able to reply until just now. I really appreciate that you all read what I have to say here – it makes it worthwhile. Especially when I’ve got a lot on my plate like I do right now.

  10. Chris J says

    Whine away. Honesty is more important to me than fake-idity. The recipe? Don’t care. Reading that you live in an apartment and NOT in some exclusive Martha Stewart Connecticut farmhouse with six assistants to do a ‘homemade’ blog like some pioneer women seem to have is more impressive.

    I’m only starting out on a ‘food career’ as I reach near 60 so I’m impressed with people still striving and working hard.

    As for your blog, just started with it so not totally up with you currently. What interests me about food blogs are folks like me…working folks, trying to supplement their income with blogs, still working. Your writing is what will draw me back. More than whatever you might write about or certain recipes.

  11. Susan says

    This couldn’t have come at a better time for me! I’ve been struggling with putting out a blog about design, food, and such for awhile and I’ve been asking myself the same question. I should probably just listen to my own advice because I ALWAYS read the story before the recipe. As mentioned in the above posts, we as readers WANT the personal story, the real YOU to come out, that’s what makes us feel connected to the blogger- that were not alone in this crazy world… Your questioning whether to write with a W, is all the more reason to keep writing this way. It’s ok for others to fall away. Who knows, you might just get a whole new set of followers!!

  12. Chris J says

    As a brief followup, I read your rant about ‘why I don’t read your goddamn blog’ and was highly amused–mostly by the respondents in the comments section. Most were so distressed by your cavalier dismissal of lousy blogs that they ranted right back.

    I agreed with your complaints about bloggers on all points. It was written well and honestly. I wasn’t offended. It reminds me of a blogger/food whom I sent a comment to stating that her photography was gorgeous of her food, but that the elements of her composition were too confusing–her food item was lost in every imager because of other, distracting elements. Her response was very polite and airy-hippie-fairy dust spot-on, stating that beauty was subjective.

    Yah, but not communication which works or not. Well, whatever. Still working on my own blog, improving images, etc.

    • steph says

      Hi Lynne, yes, it should be about the same time. This is assuming your grill is very hot, as if you were cooking a roast, etc. If your grill is cooler, for vegetables and chicken, then I might let the corn go another 5 minutes on the grill.

  13. Nick says

    As a general rule, I read the stuff also. And like all stuff, some of it is better than others, but always adds to the overall benefits of receiving your blog.

  14. Barefoot says

    We would prefer to keep the corn in its own skin due to the fact that we don’t want to put aluminum from the tin foil in our bodies if at all possible. Always looking for healthier routes and/or choices. Also, very difficult to find corn these days (at least in Florida) that is non-GMO.

    • steph says

      I totally understand – you could easily do the same thing with corn husks, though I might use some bakers twine to tie the shut, otherwise butter will likely get all over the place!

  15. Beth R says

    Keep it authentic and keep the writing tight. A tie to the food featured is always good and keeps everything relevant. Wasn’t it Mark Twain who on being told his editor wanted 3 pages on a particular topic within a week replied “I can give you 30 pages in one week. Three pages will take longer”. The point is that tight, well written, less really is more. Whatever you’re feeling – joy, pain, loss, redemption — is fine (and particularly when linked to the recipes, food, books … being discussed. Note “linked” — not the same as “only focused on”, so a particular recipe might trigger a seemingly unrelated memory that creates a lovely blog). So, whatever you’re feeling/seeing/experiencing is great — just keep the writing tight. :)

  16. Chris says

    I like the way you write. I write like that too. I figure it’s our forum for saying what we feel before delving into the recipe. People that know me expect it from me, people that don’t will either scroll down to the recipe or just not bother. I’m okay with both. It feels good to share your feelings so I like it, go for it. If it makes you feel better about yourself, life, the cards you are dealt, makes you appreciate what you have, do more for those that don’t have – then do it. Best damn place to do it. As for the family crisis, as the saying/song goes “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” – the rest of the lyrics are pretty good too – go play the song. Know that there are others out there also going through what you are going through or worse or not at all. Life is worth living, so share!
    Someone else here wrote – emotional honesty! Some one else said prayers! To both, I say yes!

  17. Melissa says

    Love the stories. I’m a repeat of the above comments but it is totally true: if I wanted a recipe I’d pull open “The Joy of Cooking.” Keep up the good work :) Love your creativity!

  18. Chris J says

    Good on that. All this reflects me back on WHY COOKING. It seems a natural extension of my years of interest in comics, drawing, and storytelling. So…instead of simply drawing, I’m cooking and telling stories, pulling all my natural inclinations together.

    Thanks again for your blog.

  19. Libia says

    I like reading about the things said before the recipes, it give more insight about people and the recipe itself. There will always be Mary contraries , but then there are also a lot of cheerers.

  20. sarah says

    I enjoy the trust you put in your blog followers. Life, like cooking, is sweet and salty and that,as we know, is a very satisfying combination. :-)

  21. Michael Duffy says

    Are you kidding? The “personal stuff,” the sharing of your thoughts, is the best part about food blogs like yours. Without them, it’s just a cookbook. What you write about your thoughts, your opinions, your likes and dislikes … that’s what makes this a human blog! Go for it. And if a few folks drop away because they don’t like it, it’s their loss, not yours! Thanks!

  22. Mary Fisher says

    The pre-recipe blurb is what I read. Occasionally I read the recipe. Once or twice I’ve used a recipe. But most of the time the site gives me ideas and I put my own twist on them according to what’s in store or the garden at the time.

    The apple pie takes too long with all that putting it in and out of the fridge and I preger to cut an oval of pastry for the top and make slits along it. When it’s put on the pie the slits open and there’s a lattice top. Simple.

  23. Robert says

    I imagine the reason you have so many followers is because YOU do YOU .
    You are not a cookbook….
    You are not a web page…
    Personality and the personal touch is important
    I come for the stories and stay for the food ….
    And some days , vise versa