Last summer, when my sister was great with child, Mom decided it was finally time to teach us how to make Creamed Corn.

What’s sitting in a can on the grocery shelf is fine for casseroles and thickening chili, but you don’t want to invite that salty, runny mess to Sunday lunch. It’d be like seating Courtney Love next to your grandmother.

Real creamed corn –a skillet full of kernels and milk freshly scraped straight off the cob, butter and cream, salt and pepper – requires a little time and patience, like most worthwhile things.

It’s so ubiquitous as a Southern side dish that if I called Mom and asked what she made for supper tonight, she probably wouldn’t even mention it. But if it were missing from the table, it would be missed.

So, what took her so long to teach us how to make it? I like to think she was waiting for a milestone, torch-passing, may-the-circle-be-unbroken moment. But I’m pretty sure she waited until she could trust us alone with knives.


Creamed Corn

Adapted from Matt and Ted Lee’s “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook”

Serves 6

  • 8 ears fresh corn
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter*
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream (or half-and-half, whole milk or skim milk)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (when corn is out of season)
  1. Cut the corn from the cobs with a sharp knife, and scrape the cobs with the edge of a spoon to extract as much leftover kernel and “milk” as possible.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat until it’s frothy. Add corn and stir constantly for 1 minute.
  3. Pour in the cream. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring until the liquid has thickened, about 12 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let steam for 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

*Gluten-Free Tip: Check the label on your butter to make sure it’s gluten-free.