The low carb revolution – reportedly in
decline, by the way – has cast an evil eye on the vegetables and fruit that are
higher in calories – such as raisins, sweet potatoes and corn. But higher than
what? A little perspective here: none of those is more than 200 calories per
serving, while a bag of “super size” fries is around 560 calories. Corn on the
husk is about 80-90 calories per ear, give or take a row.
words, the calories are almost irrelevant. What really matters is that when corn
is fresh from the farm, on the cob, you are missing a seriously terrific part of
the summer if you’re not eating any.
Any kid will tell you that. Some of
us grew up with a ritual or tradition for cooking corn-on-the cob – perhaps
roasted in the husk, or boiled in a kettle. Taking a cue from Latino culture,
one might remove the husk, sprinkle it with chili powder then toss it on the
This is about making it one ear at a time, as a part of a
convenient, 10-minute meal so you can enjoy it on a work night, not simply at a
According to the Journal of
Agriculture and Food Chemistry (August 14, 2002), when you cook corn, the level
of beneficial antioxidant activity increases (conventional wisdom, wrong in this
case and when applied to tomatoes, is that cooking destroys nutrients – in fact
it’s a little more complicated than that because some nutrients are destroyed
while others become more bio-available). Cooking sweet corn unleashes a phenolic
compound called ferulic acid, which provides health benefits that battle cancer,
This ferulic acid occurs in grains and corn (which is a
grain, you know) and not many other places. So failure to go corny is letting
your body down.
Corn and Limey Beans
You don’t need to fire up
a grill to make corn on the cob. This meal is something you can make in around
ten minutes – and go to bed satisfied that you have your ferulic acid along with
• Medium sized skillet
• Microwavable bowl and a microwave
or two ears of corn, husk (leaves) on
• One 16 ounce can of black beans
Onion, medium to large size of any variety
• Minced garlic
• Lime juice
• Salt, pepper, and other spices to taste (most
appropriate: chili pepper)
1. Immerse corncob (at least half way, leaves on) in a
bowl of water. Loosen leaves slightly to allow water to soak into the cob.
Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes, turn half way, and then microwave another 3-5
minutes. An alternative is to microwave it in plastic or paper towels, with no
water, for 2-3 minutes per ear – it’s even faster.
2. In skillet, shake about
2 tablespoons of olive oil, heat at medium/medium-high.
3. Chop onion, and
mix with 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and other spices in skillet.
4. Add can
of black (whole) beans.
5. After about four minutes, add lime juice (enough
to taste, but not to overwhelm).
Serve the beans on a plate, but eat the
corn the old fashioned way – so it gets all over your face. And if you’re eating
alone or with really close friends, try sucking the juice out of the cob after
the kernels are gone. It is a surprisingly sweet nectar in an unexpected place –
sugar in the pre-processed form that is the source of high fructose corn syrup,
the sweetener lurking in thousands of processed foods (a case of too much of a
good thing – a single sugary soda pop has 150 calories, while your whole ear of
corn has a little more than half that).
For more ideas on healthy meals made with long shelf-life
foods in under 15 minutes, get “A Guy’s Gotta Eat, the regular guy’s guide to
eating smart” (Marlowe & Co, March 2004).
“A Guy’s Gotta Eat” strives to return sanity to the
simple act of eating, emphasizing the ease with which sound nutrition can be
achieved in a busy workaday schedule through frozen, canned, dried and fresh
produce; whole grain cereals, breads and pastas; leaner cuts of beef, chicken
and pork; fish and other seafood; and lower-fat dairy products. The book
features 15-minute recipes using long shelf-life products, ideal for grocery
shopping-averse men and others who are thin on cooking skills – meals that can
be faster, tastier, less expensive and far healthier than drive-by foods
ubiquitous in our convenience food culture. It is available nationwide where
books are sold.