“No Wasting” Corn-on-the-Cob by Cynthia Briscoe


Who doesn’t love corn on the cob? Raise your hand. What! No hands?

Corn on the cob has to be one of the glories of summer fare. Picture picnics and watermelon, Fourth of July,  baked beans and children gnawing their way across ears of corn like teeth on a typewriter carriage.

The very first cooking class I ever had with
the late, great macrobiotic teacher, Cornellia Aihara was a delicious summer meal that began with her fresh corn soup. It was followed with brown rice, fresh gomashio, pan fried eggplant with lemon miso, pressed salad and an apple juice kanten floating with succulent bing cherry orbs pitted by chopstick. I still remember the simplicity and celebration of summer produce, attentively prepared, and so delicious!Two words often heard coming from Cornellia’s lips were “NO WASTING!

Her instruction concerning no wasting contained implied lessons grounded in the practical, and expanding outwardly to embrace the more subtle realms of macrobiotic principles

She never overtly spoke of such things, they were merely implied and woven within the layers of food preparation and the rhythmic chop-chop-chop sound of her knife.

In practical terms, when it came to ears of corn, that meant making use of many of the parts of the ear that many people discard without thought. By utilizing as much of the ear as possible, we not only save money but also extract as much goodness as possible from the graceful union of heaven and earth forces that miraculously and uniquely express themselves in an ear of corn. We also honor the efforts of all those who planted the seeds, those who grew, harvested and transported the corn from field to table. We value the life of the corn that in turn gives us life and energy to pursue our dreams.

Following is the method Cornellia taught for cutting corn with “no wasting”. Not only does it show appreciation for the ear of corn, but you will appreciate new depths of deliciousness!

  1. Place the ear of corn in a bowl to catch the kernels as you slice them from the cob in downward strokes. (for a short demo of this cutting and scraping technique see “No Wasting” Corn Cutting Demo by Cynthia Briscoe)
  1. Using the backside of the knife, (the dull side) scrape the cob to remove the remaining pulp from the cob. Notice the tiny dark yellow pyramid shaped bits on your knife blade. Those are the corn germ, the vital storehouse of regeneration
  1. Break the cob in half and add to soup stock or place in the pot when cooking millet or rice for a delicious sweet corn flavor.

Cornellia’s Fresh Corn Soup

3 ears fresh corn

2 medium-sized yellow onions minced

6 cups spring water or filtered water

1 tablespoon kuzu

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 stem of parsley, finely minced for garnish

  1. Trim corn from cob. Scrape cob with the dull back side of the knife to remove remaining pulp. Set corn aside.
  1. Place onion, corncobs and sea salt in a soup pot.
  1. Add enough of the water to cover and bring to a boil.
  1. Reduce heat and simmer covered until onions are completely soft.
  1. Add corn and remaining water.
  1. Return to a boil and cook an additional 10 minutes.
  1. Dilute kuzu in a little water and add to soup pot.
  1. Cook until kuzu turns clear. Cornellia suggested that the kuzu strengthens our stomach in the summer when it is hot and we have a tendency to take more iced drinks, which can cool our digestive fire.
  1. Serve garnished with a little finely minced parsley.

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