What’s the Deal with Corn? I Can’t Imagine a More Beautiful Thing
This past week corn has been the must have food in the United States because of a video from Recess Therapy with a child named Tariq, now know as Corn Kid, stating how much he loves corn. The interview itself has gone viral due to the sheer honesty from Tariq about how much he loves corn. Social media have noted that their grocery stores are actually carrying more corn than usual and quoting Tariq's infamous lines from the interview.
Whether you agree with Tariq or don't corn is very important to our great State of Texas being the number two consistently grown crop in the state. In an interview, Stephanie Pruitt the Communications Director with Texas Corn Producers informed us that Texas farmers plant more than two million acres of corn annually yielding 105 bushels per acre. This means that within the last five years corn grown in Texas has yielded on average more than 285 million bushels annually within the past five years. That's a lot of corn!
There are many types of corn such as field corn, sweet corn (I think that seems to be what Tariq is eating) white and specialty corn. 96% of field corn is what is used to feed livestock and one third of all types of corn grown in the United States is what feeds most animals. Corn isn't just used for animals but can also be turned into a high-octane low-carbon based fuel to power certain types of vehicles. Once corn is turned into fuel the leftovers, known as distillers grains, can actually be fed to animals so nothing is left to waste.
As someone who was raised to know how to cultivate all kinds of crops corn is definitely my favorite because of its history. Corn was domesticated in the Americas by indigenous native people before Columbus ever stepped foot on the continent making a truly American food. For growers of corn in the United States one pest of corn crops is a fungus, known as corn smut, but in parts of Central and South America that fungus is considered a delicacy. Huitlacoche, the name of the fungus, can be harvested before it pops then washed and cooked many different ways. Personally, my mom would make it with onions, jalapeños, and tomatoes to make a savory healthy dish or sautéed and put inside quesadillas.
Corn has many uses and is one of the most American plants out there since it was domesticated in the Americas by indigenous Americans many centuries ago. If you have not seen Tariq's interview that turned him into Corn Kid then this is the right spot to see why everybody is going crazy over corn this past week. Also the remixed version that was turned into a song is located here for easier access but be warned that it will get stuck in your head. So we can all give corn a big thank you to being such a versatile crop and thank you to Corn Kid for making a lot of people, including myself, realize that corn is corn and we can't imagine a more beautiful thing.