Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Corn on the Cob and Ear of the Hog

My mother would accuse me of sacrilege if she heard me call corn “poison” like I often do. Maybe it’s because when I was little and visiting a live farm in Iowa, it was the corncobs being thrown into the pigpens that fattened up the hogs for butcher. That image of massive, hairy beasts oinking and scuffling around in the mud to score the biggest sections of nature’s sugar stayed with me. Corn has carried negative connotations for me ever since and although I do occasionally make a corn and potato chowder in the winter or throw a few kernels into a loaded guacamole now and again, it’s mostly a food I have tended to stay away from. To me it just equals liquid fat.

So imagine my surprise when I ended up ordering a piping hot corn on the cob as a starter to a *margarita pie at Pizzeria Delfina on a recent trip to San Francisco. It must have been the Fourth of July spirit in the air but more likely it was the fact that the corn came swimming in what was described on the menu as “lardon butter”—a sinful, addictive, milky cream studded with slivers of bacon and sparse flecks of chili pepper.

To make matters even worse, and in homage to that long ago memory of the marriage between corn and pork, I ordered the pig’s ears for dessert. I know, I am not quite sure what got into me, but suddenly I had a pile of yummy, gelatinous fried chewy strings made extra delicious by the hot chili oil that accompanied the dish.

An East Indian woman sitting next to me was giving me the serious stink eye during my entire meal and I couldn’t quite figure out why.  Was I doing something against her religion by eating this combo together? Was I secretly bastardizing all the laws of food? Or was I just showing too much cleavage in my navy, sweater dress for her liking? At least I wasn’t her poor dinner companion who was being admonished for not buying the proper kind of bon bons for what I assumed was an at home movie night they had planned for later.

*Don’t bother going to Pizzeria Delfina if you actually want a quick and quality pizza. There are no reservations so it takes at least thirty minutes to finally get into the loud, tightly seated, constantly busy place. You can share a bottle of wine outside if you want while waiting but it’s typically too windy to enjoy it properly and who wants to be drunk by the time you sit down to your meal. The pizza comes with burn holes all over it and unless you like a side of carcinogens with your mozzarella and tomato sauce, you’d be better off sticking to a tried and true pizza joint.

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