Making Friends with the Enemy

When I look at corn, I see the enemy. You see, I am highly sensitive to corn and corn products. Ingest a little bit of it and I immediately know it by getting a headache, swollen throat, and other undesirable side effects. Eat a lot of it and I’ll be miserable for a few days. Suffice it to say, I go out of my way to avoid corn. I read labels. If something in a restaurant or at a party MIGHT contain corn, I don’t touch it unless I can see the label or talk to the chef. If something is called ‘vegetable’ anything, I avoid it since I don’t know if the vegetable in question might be corn.

To those who have no food sensitivities, this is generally met with pity that it must be really hard to avoid corn. After all, according to an article I recently heard on National Public Radio, 75% of all the products found on a grocery store shelf in the United States contain corn in some form. Most people say “no way” when they hear that but I find it really easy to believe. I have a list of known ingredients that are corn-derivatives and it covers four type-written pages! The list includes the obvious (high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, corn starch, corn meal); the less obvious (vanilla extract, powdered sugar, distilled white vinegar, baking powder, caramel coloring); and even the obscure (acetic acid, dextrose, maltodextrin, xanthum gum).

Fifteen years ago, when I first figured this out, it was a bit of a challenge to avoid corn but now it is second nature. I know where corn lurks and how to avoid it. In fact, it is a legitimate reason not to over-indulge at a party and it makes it really easy to avoid all the processed items that I shouldn’t be eating anyway.

Occasionally I pick up an ear or two of fresh sweet corn for Chuck to enjoy but, aside from that, I don’t buy corn. So, imagine my surprise today that I am actually tempted to purchase seeds to grow some of the dreaded c-word.

Original Glass Gem Corn Photo by Greg Schoen

Original Glass Gem Corn Photo by Greg Schoen

I was reading a newsletter from the Institute of Urban Homesteading that talked about their experience growing Glass Gem Popcorn. (This photo went viral in 2012 although I must admit I missed it at the time.) They had recently harvested what they grew and described opening the ears of corn as ‘Christmas-come-early’. They showed a few photos and this corn is BEAUTIFUL!! Each kernel just glistens like something out of the glass studio! I particularly like the photos at Or you can visit the Facebook page dedicated to the stuff and read all sorts of posts from people who have now grown some of their own. You can even get your own seeds from native seeds/SEARCH.

Perhaps now I have found a way to make nice with my long-time enemy. I can grow some Glass Gem Corn, dry it and hang it on my front door. Not only will it look beautiful but, according to Indian legend, it might even ward off all the evil spirits that seem to haunt me from the plain-Jane varieties. Perhaps it is worth a try. 😉


About CatTail Studio Arts

I am Theresa - the 'T' in CatTail Studio Arts. My husband, Chuck, is the guy behind the 'C'. Our tales cover our many interests including good food, adventurous travel, cooking, gardening, hiking, cycling, crafting ceramics, beekeeping and occasionally even cat tales!
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2 Responses to Making Friends with the Enemy

  1. Ravish Star says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I didn’t know corn could effect people so much in a negative way. But you have made a positive out of it! 🙂


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