GARDEN GOURMET--March 2008
There are many joys inherent to gardening--and
some setbacks--but generally speaking the good times roll from the time
peas and the early root veggies come on to first frost the plusses outweigh
The early rooters reach maturity earlier, so it
makes sense that they should be first in the earth.
“First in, first out!” my father, the late Jacob
Wesley Scifres, used to say in the early spring, when we were planting
early veggies, and again when they were harvested for the table a scant
month or 40 days later.
There were some veggies that always spelled
trouble, but he stayed with them in planning and planting. We never seemed
to do well with sweet corn, for example. But the four or five rows of corn
always anchored the garden and it always produced roasting ears very poorly.
Fortunately, Mel Ballard, a nearby Tampico farmer
with a very green thumb, would drive his horse-drawn wagon to Crothersville
with veggies of all kinds (including watermelons) to make the resident
rounds twice a week. And though our garden produced many veggies, Mel’s
melons and corn were always welcomed on our kitchen table.
Incidentally, I once worked for a newspaper that
had a columnist imbued with the notion that to be really good, tasty food
sweet corn had to be jerked from the stalk and minutes later plopped into
“Hogwash!” I told him every year when he ran his
fresh-corn column. He thought I was some kind of nut (maybe I was, and
am), but in today’s modern world there are as many ways to prepare sweet
corn for the table as there are Heinz Soups or English sparrows on my bird
(Note: Contrary to popular feeling, I rather like--and
favor--my little covey of English sparrows--and the plethora of others.
The song sparrow sits high and sings its song to tell me spring is nigh,
but I haven’t heard it yet.)
I submit, in this modern day, that the best way
to cook corn on the cob is to microwave it. Just remove most of the shucks,
and plop it into the micro for four minutes per ear. The silks will come
off with the shucks when done, and butter seasoning will put one in business.
Be assured, one does not have to break a leg hastening
from corn patch to micro.
If one is inclined to work a little harder, Susan
Kelly, Indianapolis, tells me that if you want the really best corn, you
should shave it off the cob and fry it.
Frying corn gives the dish a little extra mileage
with those dining. My mother and grandmother used to serve more people
by adding to the corn in their old iron skillets a cup or so of well-cooked
dried beans and at the end of the frying a cup or so of good crackers,
well crumbled, and a cup of finely chopped sweet onion. It is a fantastic,
To fry corn, one must cover the bottom of the
skillet with cooking agent (some bacon fryings in the oil), but don’t overdo
the cooking agent.
recently ran across a recipe for Pumpkin Cream Pie (a no-cook version)
while visiting with Mrs. Kathryn Keith at my old hometown, Crothersville,
in Jackson County.
On making this pie, I found it so tasty, that
I would like to share the recipe in this space. It follows:
1 large box instant vanilla Jello pudding
1 ½ cups cold milk (condensed OK)
1 ¼ cups pumpkin pulp (fresh, cooked and
1 small tub Cool Whip (sugar free OK)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie mix
First: bake 9-inch pie shell. (Have it ready before
pie is mixed.)
Second: Mix other ingredients in large bowl.
Third: Immediately, after mixing ingredients,
pour them into baked pie shell.
Fourth: Refrigerate pie. It will soon set up.
Note: Kathryn believes the recipe--or slight modifications--would
produce a pretty good pie with the sauce or rather thick puree of many
other fruits and veggies--especially mashed sweet potatoes.
tomato from last year’s garden was photographed on a dinner plate.
Eleven of the tomatoes surpassed a yardstick and ran to more than four
feet, not to mention some fine “tomater” dishes.