having patience and a recipe: skillet-fried (creamed) corn

A handful of days at the beach are like cheap therapy for me. Well, not so cheap, really. There are costs to consider: the cost of the beach house rental, the house and pet sitter fees, dinners out, the cost of gas…

But still.  It’s therapy. It’s good for me.

Each day, I awoke, grudgingly, shortly after sunrise, sunlight streaming through the white shades in the lilac-walled master bedroom. The sounds of the kids whispering in the hallway and clopping up the stairs was enough to get my mind moving, anticipating the day ahead. Breakfast was boxed cereal on most days, but on that special first morning, we were treated to gooey slices of Julia’s cream-cheese-stuffed french toast. Hours at the beach, sweaty and sandy with salt-pinched skin, were followed by cool dips in the lap pool and lunch breaks in the crisp, air-conditioned beach house.

I read books even. Books without bunnies or princesses or dinosaurs. I finished Gone Girl (wow) and moved on to Sharp Objects (completely disturbing but addictive). Gillian Flynn’s novels, so evocative and unsettling, have sucked me in like a bad habit. After finishing her first book on that last day full day spent lounging on the beach, I downloaded Dark Places, the second of her three novels, to my Kindle. I just can’t get enough.

I adore reading – and I got to do it for five days in a row. Can you imagine?

And so, we’re home. Back from the beach, and back to our suburban lives without sand and salt water and sunscreen-sticky limbs.

I’m playing at Stay At Home Mom these during these last days – hours – before the weekend. I’m not very good at this game. Just ask my kids – they’ll probably tell you the same. I lack patience. I like a clean home – clutter and toys and Play-Doh drive me crazy. I like time to write or read or clean. Or sit quietly. None of this happens when I play Stay At Home Mom. I try to be better, try to overcome this problem, but it’s a constant struggle.

So, I’m doing my best. Making it work. And trying not to check my work email, that one part of my life where I feel In Control.

I asked the kids yesterday, our first full day home since returning from vacation, what they wanted for dinner. This corn made the top of the list. I’d made it before, and they were immediately enchanted — as was I. The name is a bit of a misnomer. Skillet-fried corn is really a version of creamed corn, but no cream is added. The special ingredient that makes it creamy is time. Lots of stirring and time.

It’s a simple recipe, but patience is essential.

Much like being a parent, really.

Yield: Serves 6.

Skillet-Fried Corn

This recipe comes from Cook's Country (and is reprinted with their permission). I adapt most recipes, but this one is simply perfect as-is. Stirring and cooking slowly are the key components to making this recipe work.


8 ears corn
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup water, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter


1. Remove the kernels from the corn cobs, collecting them in a large bowl. With the back of a knife, scrape the corn cobs over the bowl to catch any remaining liquid and corn bits from the cobs.

2. In a separate, small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Set aside.

3. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil until shimmering. Add corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in the flour mixture, and cook for 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup water and cook, stirring continuously until water has evaporated, approximately 8 minutes. Add the last 1/4 cup of water and cook, stirring constantly until water has evaporated, for another 10 minutes or so. Remove from heat, stir in butter, and serve while warm.

August/September 2012 issue of Cook's Country.

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10 Responses to “having patience and a recipe: skillet-fried (creamed) corn”

  1. 1
    Gail — August 16, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

    I would take care of your kids for you, just to give you more time to write.

    I can say without fear of you actually taking me up on this offer as we live in different states.

    But, the sentiment is genuine. Because I love the way you write.

  2. 2
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — August 17, 2012 @ 9:49 am

    It’s been so long since I’ve been to the beach. There’s something about it that makes me slow down and relax. Maybe it’s the rhythm of the waves breaking on the shore, or maybe it’s just being away from the ordinary routine of home. I’m thinking it’s high time we planned a little trip.

    Maybe I’ll take my skillet and cook up a little corn while we’re there.

  3. 3
    Macaroni Mama — August 17, 2012 @ 10:27 am

    I love the way you tied up this piece of writing.

  4. 4
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty — August 17, 2012 @ 10:27 am

    Ahh, the beach. There’s nothing quite so therapeutic as digging your toes into the sun-warmed sand. Sounds like a picture-perfect vacation – so much time to read! Imagine! *Dreamy sigh*

    I’m new to the stay-at-home-mom thing (my little one is 7 months old and I’m doing it full-time right now). I feel like I learn new life lessons every day. The underlying message, usually, is “slow down…” So much easier said than done, isn’t it?!

    Can’t wait to try this recipe, by the way. Looks divine.

    Love your posts as always, MJ!

  5. 5
    haniela — August 18, 2012 @ 3:07 am

    Thanks for taking me to the beach with your words. I haven’t been in so long, years actually. I hope to visit again.
    Love the corn, roo.

  6. 6
    Nutmeg Nanny — August 19, 2012 @ 12:40 am

    This is the side dish of my summer dreams. Yes please! Sounds like the beach was the perfect therapy.

  7. 7
    Kathryn — August 19, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

    I read Gone Girl on the plane to LA and loved it, can’t wait to download the others! I love this post as well MJ, just beautiful writing (as ever).

  8. Pingback: 35 Vegetarian Recipes for Cinco de Mayo (+ 10 Bonus Margarita Recipes) | Kitchen Treaty

  9. 8
    Bree — December 26, 2013 @ 6:01 pm

    We had this with our Christmas dinner last night, and everyone raved about it. Was searching for a fabulous, simple corn dish, and this absolutely fit the bill. Thanks!

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