Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Today's Earful

I'm the first one to admit that I see nothing inherently wrong in enjoying a balanced supper of nourishing popcorn - lightly salted and without butter (because adding butter would just be foolish - from a nutritional standpoint). So this blog might seem a little odd coming from someone eager to promote the addition of popcorn to the Canada Food Guide - at its rightful place at the tippy-top apex of its food pyramid.

The truth is, I don't like corn - apart from its popped incarnation and its candied namesake which fleetingly populates the planet at Hallowe'en. If pushed, I'll grudgingly eat an ear of corn (if slippery with butter and gritty with salt) but that's the extent of both my politeness and desire to eat corn.

In Turkey, corn is everywhere. It is not just dumped on a perfectly lovely green salad or s
prinkled far too liberally on top of a pizza - which in most civilized societies would be considered bad form- but it's eaten as a snack. Yes, peppered across the country are boiled corn carts which, for 1 lira (slightly more if you want your corn grilled) you can buy an ear of corn.

Who, I ask you, eats boiled corn for a snack? Besides Turks. I suppose I should commend them for not stuffing their faces and their arteries with junk
but still - corn? Corn just doesn't lend itself well to a walking street food. You need both hands - or so I thought until I saw a nation gnawing away with an ear of corn in one hand and holding cell phones to their faces with the other hand. How dexterous these people are!

If this isn't bad enough, corn has infiltrated shopping malls. Where any self-respecting mall would encourage hot dog stands to poison its patrons' bodies with carcinogenic chemicals, corn stands have popped up. And not selling ears of corn but Styrofoam cups of niblet corn.

But not just any niblet corn - noncut niblet corn. I don't even know what that means. Who cuts a kernel of corn? Does it have something to do with circumcision?

Indeed, corn-in-cup (sic) - which I believe is a registered trademark - was first created in a (and I quote) "bold step" by Malaysian corn-aficionado and bearer of "hybrid seed Nelson's 28", Nelson Kwak, who created Nelson's: a corn-pushing fast-food stand. Bold step indeed because I still can't figure out who wants to wander through the Gap or Zara's chewing on flavoured noncut kernel corn and getting the hulls stuck between their teeth.

There are over 500 Nelson's (formerly known as KTT Product Corporation Sdn Bhd) most of which are (not too surprisingly) in the Far East - and, if you go to their website, you can view a list of outlets and a highlighted map of the world to see where they're located - except that the list doesn't correspond to the map at all. And North America is missing.

Curiosity piqued? Wondering if actual chickadees are ground up in the production of their "
Chickedees (sic) corn flavour"? Thrilled at the possibility of offering your community a snack that's "safe to eat"? Have some spare cash under the mattress? You too could open your own Nelson's franchise and become a Korn King yourself. But please - please - choose a country other than Turkey. There are far too many corn stands in this country as it is (boiled or noncut) and quite frankly, corn kernels are - shall we say - malodorous. The US is wide open: only Seattle has signed on to stink up its malls.

Or here's a thought: open a popcorn stand. You know, the way God intended corn to be.


Snowflake said...

My only regret in life so far is that I didn't eat one of those delicious looking ears of corn in Instanbul when we were there. You have so much to learn about the good things in life. Love the picture of candy corn - can't wait for Haloween this year in good 'ol North America. That candy corn and the candy pumpkins are my favs! And just so you know, popcorn is now an almost daily vegetable at our table - thanks to YOU. Try it popped with pepper-olive oil. Muy delicioso!!

Frisco said...

When they can have an ear of corn in one hand, hold a cell phones to their faces with the other hand all while riding a bike then we are talk,,,

This Cat's Abroad said...

Snowflake: you're eating popcorn with olive oil?!! Not Butter?!! Are you serious? You've gone native. I bet you're grating fresh Parmesan on top of it.

Frisco: Turks don't ride bikes. What about driving a car?

Jillian said...

See, Damascenes get this stuff right. My favorite snack while visiting this past March was corn...but heated in a delicious butter, salt and cheese mixture, then served in a container with a fork...completely civilized.

Jillian said...

Um, also: http://nelsons.com.my/wordpress/?p=20

I dug around on the site for WAY TOO LONG.

Snowflake said...

F@*k! I AM NOT GOING NATIVE!!!!!!!! How DARE you! I HATE parmesan and you know it!

Snowflake said...

The olive oil is only for the health benefits.

Mr. Pivo aka Mr.Kernel said...

Come on Snowflake, we know you are using specially aged Modena balsamic vinegar on your popcorn!

Anonymous said...

How are any of you able to taste the corn with all those additives you are putting on it.
Try eating it alone so you can get the natural taste.
Corn is the top vegetable in the world.

This Cat's Abroad said...

I only eat popcorn so my only additive is salt.

Anonymous said...

Mexicans eat corn for a snack as do Iranians. I worked at a flea market in the US and whole families were walking around with a little cup of corn (salad) seasoned the way they like it.