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Steaming, succulent, corn on the cob

There is no better way to please many people than to set before them a steaming platter of sunny, succulent corn on the cob with a tub of butter close by.

Not for them dill, chive, and garlic-flavored butters or corn souffles. The majority of people who like sweet corn in the summer want it plain and unadulterated, except for butter and perhaps a shake or two of salt.

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Some have been known to eat as many as a dozen ears at one sitting. Yet, were I young again, grandmother's corn fritters and fresh corn pudding would never go begging.

Of course, progress has affected corn in ways our ancestors could never have foreseen, and each new crop brings added quality and flavor.

The American Indians developed corn, and each tribe gave it a different name. It seems quite appropriate that one of the translations means ''our life,'' since corn did indeed sustain the early colonists. Skillet Curried Corn 3 ears fresh corn 3 large sweet peppers (red and green mixture for color) 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 cup finely chopped onion Salt to taste Freshly ground pepper to taste 1 tablespoon curry powder 1/2 cup heavy cream

Cut kernels of corn off cob with sharp knife. There should be about 1 1/2 cups. Set aside. Core and seed peppers, discarding white veins from the center. Cut peppers into quarters, then crosswise into julienne strips. There should be about 4 cups.

Heat butter in a heavy skillet and add the onions. Cook, stirring until wilted. Add pepper strips, salt, and pepper.

Cook briefly and add curry powder. Stir to blend well. Cover. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add corn and stir. Add cream and cook, stirring briefly, about 1 minute. Do not cook longer or corn kernels will toughen. Serves 4. Corn Pudding 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 2 tablespoons minced onion 2 tablespoons flour 2 tablespoons light brown sugar 1 cup milk 2 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 cups cooked corn, cut from cob

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add onion and cook gently, stirring often, until yellowed. Stir in flour and sugar until smooth. Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk, keeping mixture smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, over moderately low heat until thickened and boiling. Remove from heat.

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In a small bowl, beat eggs with salt, pepper, and nutmeg until foamy. Add about 1/4 cup of the warm sauce to eggs and beat in vigorously. Pour all back into saucepan and stir in the corn.

Pour into a buttered, round 1-quart casserole (6 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches). Place in a pan of hot tap water that comes up as high as the corn mixture.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree F. oven until a metal knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Serves 6. Corn Fritters 2 cups fresh corn kernels 3 eggs, beaten 2 tablespoons milk 1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 1/4 cups flour Oil for deep frying

Combine all ingredients and mix well, adding just enough flour to hold the batter together. Drop into hot oil and cook 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Makes 6 large fritters. Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken-Corn Soup With Rivvels 1 2 1/2-pound broiler-fryer, cut up 6 or more cups water 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste) 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (or to taste) 2 large ribs celery with tops, chopped 1 large onion, chopped 1 1/2 cups cooked corn, cut from cob Rivvels (recipe follows) Minced parsley (optional)

In Dutch oven, combine chicken, 6 cups water, salt, and hot pepper sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken and save broth. Cool chicken.

Remove and discard skin and bones. Cut meat into large chunks. Set aside. Add celery and onion to broth. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, or until almost tender.

Add chicken, corn, and rivvels. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add parsley and more water if soup is too thick. Heat through. Correct seasoning. Serves 4. Rivvels 1 cup flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 egg 2 tablespoons milk

Stir all ingredients together with fork or fingertips until mixture is crumbly and pieces are the size of peas.

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