Corn on the cob is a wonderful treat, but it’s one of the more difficult foods to eat mindfully, largely because it forces you to become very busy while you eat it. There is much to do with table-side preparation of the corn, with salt and butter, and then whole act of eating the corn, with the chewing, turning and butter-on-the-chin goodness. And it’s easy to get into a mindless rhythm of chewing down the rows of the cob, until you’re not paying any attention!
Here are few suggestions for bringing more attention to the act of eating corn in its natural, cob state:
First arrive at the ear of corn. Understand that when you look at the corn, you’re really seeing rows and rows of corns fruits. Each kernel is the fruit of the corn, and a corn seed is fused inside each fruit. Also, each kernel of corn is the result of a separate fertilization, where a corn pollen grain grew all the way down a corn silk and fertilized an egg cell.
Notice the color and shape of the kernels, smell the subtle aroma of the corn. To yourself, count at least one row of kernels; discover how many fruits are in a row. During this moment, you’re getting quiet and turning your attention solely to the ear of corn.
Next, prepare your ear of corn mindfully. As you put on butter or salt, be attentive to the task. Notice how the butter melts on contact, how the salt sparkles on the surface. Feel the pressure of the knife on the corn or the shifting balance in the salt shaker. Be aware of the feel of the corn in your fingers.
As you begin to bite the corn, set a target number of bites you will take down the row. Then, count the bites and stop when you reach your target. (Use this target number for all of your bites!). While you’re biting the corn, pay attention to the sound of each bite and notice the “pop” of the corn kernels into your mouth.
After you have bitten off the row of corn, but before you begin chewing, empty your hands. Set everything down. Wipe your chin if you have to. Get your hands still. Make the chewing of the corn a separate, mindful event. Don’t let anything else distract you from this. Chew your corn thoroughly and enjoy it. And don’t pick up the corn again until your mouth is completely empty.
Make a return row. This is a single row that you will leave on the corn. (CAMP readers know that leaving some food is an act of empowerment, signifying that we can have complete control over our decisions of how much to eat.) If you haven’t the heart to leave a whole row, decide to leave at least a few kernels and intentionally bypass these kernels with your chewing. If this seems wasteful, remind yourself that CAMPers try to avoid eating more food than is really needed.
Above all, remember that corn is a food that has been enjoyed for thousands of years by human beings, and that it is a great gift of the earth, the sky, the air and the sun. Honor the corn, and enjoy!