Labor Day

She sits
She sits on a folding chair
She sits on a folding chair in the sun next to a flatbed truck piled high with corn
It’s 92 in the shade but there is no shade
Just sun
And a truck
And corn on the cob
Parked in the lot of an abandoned mall
Cedar Mall
Cedar Mall, the shopping mall that delaminated the downtown of Owatonna, Minnesota
I pull up in a rental car
Now a stranger in my own home
I pull up and get out
I pull up and get out and I ask how much
Five dollars a dozen
Five dollars a dozen for the best corn on the cob
Bought off a flatbed truck
From a girl who sits
In the sun
On a folding chair
A strand of brown hair falling over her face
Is this corn local you ask, making conversation
Just making conversation
Her face falls like it will fall again, a hundred times, a thousand
No, it’s from Rochester

Recipe: Corn on the Cob

Most of the time, I think I can improve a dish, tweak it here, add a couple ingredients there…make it mine. Make it better. With corn on the cob, not so much. People grill it or cut off the kernels and saute with red pepper, etc. etc. And I’ve done all that. But really, you can’t improve corn on the cob much beyond butter. Salt. Pepper.

First, get good corn. Local if you can. Or from Rochester, that’s OK. Buy it from a flatbed truck, not a grocery store. Certainly not Walmart.

Then bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. The water should be as salty as sea water. Put your corn in and cook for 3 minutes. That’s plenty. Melt some butter. Maybe squeeze some lime into it. When the corn is done, paint it with the butter and lime using a pastry brush. Salt. Pepper. Use good salt, not iodized.

That’s it.

Eat Well.

About John Idstrom

My name is John Idstrom and I write Meezenplace, which is an intentional misspelling of the french cooking term Mise en Place. I am a non-indiginous, invasive species who lives and writes by the beaches of Monterey Bay. I used to think Meezenplace was about food, and maybe it was at some point. Now it's just stories I find that have food in them. Pull up and chair and join me for a meal.
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3 Responses to Labor Day

  1. Colleen Hollinger says:

    John I especially enjoyed the prose, thank you.
    I love lime and/or lime zest on my corn, too.
    I hope you both are staying safe and sane, as I think you’re still not back home due to wildfires.

    • John Idstrom says:

      Well, I put more time into the poem than I did the prose, but I am happy if you liked anything. We have been home for a bit now. Unbelievable what the sky is doing now. 3:00 and nearly dark, the sky spooky orange from fires far away.

  2. mptesq says:

    Cedar Mall! Good stuff; thanks.

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