Back Around the House II: Fresh vegetables


Last year it seemed the corn on the cob season came and went before we even had time to enjoy it. So this year as soon as the corn appeared in the grocery store produce department, we were ready for it. Even the early cut of county corn tasted pretty good.

When the tractor pulled into town with the home-grown corn, I was in line at least once a week to buy some for our table. Then the Silver Queen corn arrived and homegrown tomatoes, and I was in Heaven.

Corn on the cob and fresh sliced tomatoes makes a most satisfying meal in my estimation. Add some meat, and Bill is happy, too.

But, unfortunately, my corn season ended prematurely.

When Bill shucked the last batch he encountered corn bore. Now, that’s not really a problem. Usually those worms are very evident and near the top of the cob, easy to eliminate. He shucked, and I cut off the tops.

I let the corn cook while I sliced the tomatoes. We were both enjoying our repast and talking about how we don’t seem to get tired of fresh corn during the summer and really miss it all winter. I had just buttered my second ear of corn when I noticed one dark speck. Deciding to remove it, I cut around it and pulled off. That spec proved to be a full inch long, snow white and still wiggling as I pulled it out.

Yes, I know I could go to the produce department at the grocery and buy shucked corn without corn borers, but after having the fresh from the field variety, it’s just not the same.

I also know that by the time the corn comes in next year, I will no longer look at it and imagine some kind of skinny worm moving down my esophagus.

Another summer meal we really enjoy is green beans and ham. Green beans fresh from the garden are first-rate, of course. But we can make-do with most any fresh green beans.

I prefer to make a really big batch of them. But now that there are just two of us, if the batch is too big we end up eating them twice a day for too long. The solution to that is fairly simple. I call one of our kids and offer them our leftovers. They never turn them down.

When my younger brother visited during fair week, I asked him if he liked green beans and ham. “Whatever you fix,” he agreed, but I could tell by the look on his face that this Texas resident might prefer something else. But still, green beans, ham and potatoes can wait a long time on the back burner and still be delicious.

I served them with French bread the first night. He took a bite, looked mildly surprised, and said, “These are really good.” No need to call any of the kids to offer them leftovers. Dave enjoyed them every chance he got until they were all gone.

Green beans have always been a favorite around our house. Way back, before we had all eight children, I decided we should plant a garden, and I would can vegetables for us. The garden was planted, and we watched it grow. We tended it, watered it and weeded it. The vegetables did fairly well for a bunch of city gardeners.

First we harvested peas. We got enough for one meal. It seemed like a lot of work for a little pleasure and not everyone took pleasure from the peas.

We worked our way through carrots and radishes, but the rabbits ate the lettuce. Finally the green beans were ready. We picked them, and I cleaned them and processed them on the hottest day of that summer. By nightfall I was exhausted but quite proud of myself as I looked over the quarts of green beans ready for winter. A regular pioneer mother. The exhaustion was worth it.

Then I went to the grocery and there were green beans on special, 10 cents a can. When I figured it up they were a lot cheaper than the ones I canned. After that we just raised enough vegetables to sustain us through the summer.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Daily Advocate Sept. 10, 2003.

By Kathleen Floyd

Back Around the House II

Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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