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Corn holders are eating utensils which are designed to make eating and handling hot corn safer and more enjoyable. While they can be approximated with objects found around the house, corn holders are relatively cheap and quite useful, so some people feel that they are worth the small investment. Many kitchen supply stores sell holders, especially in the summer months, as do grocery stores and large markets. There are a variety of designs to choose from, from the campy to the stylish.
There are two parts to a corn holder. The first is a pair of spikes which are designed to penetrate the corn. The second part is a handle, usually made from a cool grip material so that it will not pick up heat from the corn. One holder is inserted into either end of an ear of corn, and the diner grips the holders to eat and manipulate the corn, rather than having to handle the corn itself.
There are several reasons to use corn holders. The first is that freshly cooked corn is hot, and it can burn the fingers. Since butter and seasoning spread best on hot corn, some diners may burn their fingers in their eagerness to dress the corn so that they can eat it. Corn holders also keep hands more clean, since eating corn of the cob can be a messy endeavor. Since many holders are rather whimsical, obstinate diners such as young children can usually be coaxed into using them.
The material used for the handles may be wood, plastic, ceramic, silicone, or sometimes metal. Silicone is an excellent choice since the holders can be cooked with the corn, allowing cooks to carefully place them without risking burns from hot corn. Most of these materials are also dishwasher safe, although they should be put into the silverware rack so that they do not get loose.
A classic design for corn holders looks like miniature ears of corn. Others take the form of plain knobs, while fanciful shapes such as animals, other vegetables, or grasping hands may be used as well. In addition, the spikes of a holder are often designed to lock into another matching corn holder, so the utensils can be easily and safely stored. In addition to ensuring that holders do not get lost in a utensil drawer, interlocking corn holders also prevent people from stabbing themselves while they are looking for other utensils.
I totally agree about the corn cutter thing. A corn holder serves a useful purpose that you can't really imitate very well with another object.
A corn cutter, on the other hand, serves no purpose other than cutting corn since it is too oddly shaped to do anything else, and you can totally do the exact same thing with that crazy piece of technology known as the knife.
Corn holders, all the way. Corn cutter? Nope.
A quick story from the annals of my childhood -- so growing up, my parents were always cooking corn on the cob, and they had the chintziest little stainless steel corn holders.
I'm pretty sure it they were supposed to be some kind of marketing thing for a brand called King Corn (I'm only guessing here) because they were shaped like little crowns and little ears of corn with scepters painted in their hands, things like that.
Well, guess who got the King Corn corn holders when mom and dad moved to Florida? So now I'm stuck with them, and oddly torn between the nostalgia they inspire and the horror I feel at their sheer cheesiness.
Funny how childhood objects work like that.
I'm not usually into campy kitchen gadgets, but I think that corn on the cob holders are totally worth the investment.
In my opinion, grilled corn on the cob is simply not worth eating if you don't eat it while it's sizzling. However, it is hard to get the butter on there and actually eat the things without roasting your fingers.
So I do break my own rule about kitchen gadgets when I cook corn on the cob -- but it's minimalist all the way with other things.
I mean, who needs a corn cutter? Just use a knife!
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