Long Live the Corn

Now here’s an interesting little documentary. King Corn follows the journey of Yale buddies Ian Cheney (no relation to that other guy) and Curt Ellis, who return to their ancestral home of Iowa to raise one acre of corn. Our intrepid grads then follow their tiny crop’s progress as it makes its way through the nation’s distribution system, filming and interviewing all the while. The results are sometimes funny (trying to cook up their own batch of High-Fructose Corn Syrup nearly destroys their house), sometimes horrifying (Cows “overdosing” on corn), and look quite intriguing. Plus, who doesn’t want to powerslide down a gigantic hill made of corn?

I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ll damn sure check it out when I’m able. We need more people to pay attention to the current state of the United States corn market–corn and its assorted products saturate more of our food chain than many are aware. Is that a bad thing?

Well, kind of. I find it downright creepy that so much high-fructose corn syrup is in our drinks, snacks, and elsewhere. I find it creepy that corn saturates our cows to the point where grass-fed beef tasted “wrong” to me. I find it especially creepy and that tons upon tons of weird, Mad-science-engineered MegaMutantDoomCorn grow (often to be wasted!) every year. Still, it’s not all bad; the structure of our market allows for a constant supply of cheap feed for animals and cheap corn for humans, makes it easier to convert to corn-based fuel ethanol, and does result in some pret-ty tasty cows…

I think I’m gonna do some more reading on the subject. For now, I’ll be eyeing that sweet corn on my plate a little more cautiously.

Assuming I wasn’t, though, I’d definitely be making one of these recipes:
Spinach, Black Bean, and Corn Quesadillas with Pico de Gallo
Prairie Cornbread
Corn Chips (with Guacamole, natch)

I was actually considering making those quesadillas sometime soon. And I know the party I’m attending Friday night will have chips and guac. And I do love cornbread…

Man, life is weird when the soda you drink three times a day is one of the few foodstuffs in your average week without any corn in it. It’s even in my favorite frozen pizza, for criminey’s sake.

-Jim wonders how this would make the house smell

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  • http://clumsycook.com clumsy

    Wow, I’d love to check this out–thanks for the lead!

    “I find it creepy that corn saturates our cows to the point where grass-fed beef tasted “wrong” to me” —that is so right, I’ve been pushing grass fed beef on everyone I know, and everyone thinks its “eh”. I think one of the problems is that people buy grass fed wanting to give it a try, not knowing that you need to cook it differently than reg beef because it is leaner (one trick is to line the skillet with bacon and cook the beef over that), so it turns out too dry, and they give up altogether (kind of understandable considering how expensive beef is). Now that I’ve been cooking with grass fed for a while, when I eat the regular stuff, it tastes bland and too fatty to me. Ok, I’m going to stop ranting now! :)

  • http://www.recipe4living.com Jim

    By all means, rant! I love reading peoples’ thoughts on food.

    Yeah, I first encountered grass-fed beef when my family took its big trip to Ireland. It was bland as hell, for two reasons:1) it is so much more lean, and 2) I’m pretty sure the Irish have absolutely no idea how to cook beef when they’re not putting it in a stew.

    It’s telling that when I tried teriyaki beef at one of the hotels (I couldn’t take any more fish) it was some of the tastiest beef I’d ever had.

  • http://whatdoyoudowiththat.blogspot.com/ Marsha

    “I think I’m gonna do some more reading on the subject. ”

    If you haven’t already, I’d definitely recommend you start your reading with Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

    And step away from the processed foods. ;-)

  • http://www.finallyfiguringitout.blogspot.com MB

    It is amazing how much HFCS is in our food supply. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had beef from grass-fed only cows. I’ll have to check my labels. I don’t eat much red meat though so probably not.

    I do know it is way cool to do a Corn Maze. I did my first one in Danville, VT a few weeks ago and it was a blast. Who knew?

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