Thursday, July 21, 2011

This is how we roll...corn buttering at the Smith's

We had corn on the cob for the first time this season just last night.

I bought it from the Farmer's Market, and it was delicious--and cheap!  Just 3 cobs for $1.  I got 9.

Anyhoo, it brought up something that has been an inner (and sometimes irritatingly outer) struggle for me for some time.  

Namely, how should we butter our corn?

There is the hygienic and pretty method, which entails taking neat little individual pats of butter from the butter plate and using your own pat to butter your own corn.  This method is much better from an aesthetic point of view, but way harder from a practical standpoint.  The pat of butter never stays stuck to your knife, so you have to keep retrieving it, and your whole cob is usually only unevenly buttered at best.

Until very recently, I have advocated the individual pat method, despite its drawbacks.  I airily dismissed naysayers, pretending that it was just as easy and efficient to use your own pat.  Yes, I was lying.  The reason for my lies was that I truly hated the corn buttering alternative.

 You know the alternative I'm talking about...  You take a cube of butter and put it on a dish.  Then everyone takes their cob and rolls it around on the butter.  What starts out as a normal cube of butter, ends an un-usable (for anything else, anyway), misshapen lump of sad-looking butter.  With corn husks and the odd half-kernel stuck to it, it isn't good for anything, ever again.  It is ugly, and it is wasteful (unless you are planning to eat corn-on-the-cob every night).  And I don't like ugly and wasteful.

But on the upside, the corn is buttered perfectly.  Every kernel has just the right amount.

Yes, I've given in to the dark side and mangle my butter in the the name of tasty corn-on-the-cob.

And it is....bliss.

So, how do you butter your corn 'round your house?


  1. We had amazing corn-on-the-cob at our reunion and we did the pat method, but the big stick is what we do at home and I have to admit, it works better.  I also rescue it and reuse it for things you need melted butter for (homemade breadsticks or popcorn, for example). I figure as long as no one is double dipping, it's not so bad.

  2. Hi Brynn!  I will have to try to rescue my lump of mangled butter at the back of my fridge.  I couldn't throw it away in good conscience, but I didn't know quite what to do with it.

  3. I know it is past corn on the cob season, (unless you are like me and buy the stuff from Costco no matter the time of year!) but I have the BEST solution for this situation. OK, so maybe I think it is the best solution, but I solved the very same issues you are talking about. It is a $3.50 corn butterer from The Pampered Chef. It is perfectly shaped to roll over the corn, has a depressor to advance the butter and a lid to keep the butter ready for the next time the cobs hit your table. Can you tell I love mine? :-)

  4. Hi Kim!

    That is a really cool gadget--especially for buttering the tops of bread and rolls, etc. That is always a messy task. And for $3.50, I think I could probably justify buying another kitchen gadget. Thanks for the suggestion!

  5. I know that it has been awhile since this post, but I would like to share with you the way we used to do it when I was small. You take a slice of bread and slather it with extra butter (being from the South, we had bread with every meal), then set the slice in one hand and roll the corn in a circle on the bread. It gives you a perfectly buttered cob every time. It might not work as well with as large a family as you have, but it never hurts to try. You can also use whatever bready goodness you have available at the time, I have used cornbread, biscuits and rolls to the same end.

  6. Hi! It has been a long time since this post, but I'm glad you didn't let that stop you :). That is a great idea. I can't wait for summer so I can try it out. Thanks for stopping by!

  7.  Chiming in late as well.... but I have to second the pampered chef tool.  Makes me feel so much better.  That said, I grew up with that roll-it-in-the-stick method.  But we used margarine then... and I am a butter all the way kind of girl.


Please feel free to comment. I love to read what other people think!