American Heritage Dictionary of the English language defines
"eclipse" as "a partial or complete obscuring
Ö of one celestial body by another." Eclipse also means
"to surpass or outshine," as in "the total
solar eclipse on August 21 eclipsed all my expectations."
course the visitors and guests we welcomed to the Nebraska
Sandhills made this event even more memorable. My house was
full of Germans and Californians Ö quite a party.
event, my daughter asked us to go pick fresh sweet corn from
her friendís nearby field. So there we were ó truly
outstanding in farmer Greenís field ó sampling his four
different varieties of sweet corn. And thatís when we
realized, the best corn is right off the stalk ó no butter,
salt or even cooking required.
corn, I learned from the Nebraska Corn Board, is higher in
natural sugars than whatís known as field corn ó the
variety grown mainly for animal feed and ethanol (fuel)
production. Cornís sugars gradually turn to starch as corn
ages, however. Best to eat it as close to just-picked as
corn is a starchy vegetable along with peas and potatoes. One
large ear (8 to 9 inches) contains about 150 calories and
about 30 grams of total carbohydrate. A large ear is roughly a
"one cup serving" of a starchy vegetable. And the
latest dietary guidelines for Americans recommends we spread
out our intake of starchy vegetables to 4 to 5 cups each week.
gets its yellow pigment from a powerful antioxidant called
lutein ("loo-teen"). Sort of like the special
glasses we wore to watch the solar eclipse, researchers have
found that lutein helps protect the eyes from the sunís
damaging rays. Studies have shown that lutein may also help
reduce the risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and
cataracts. Compared to other vegetables, corn and corn
products contain some of the highest amounts of this
variety of corn to which I am personally addicted is popcorn.
Each kernel of this type of corn, says the Nebraska Corn
Board, "contains a small amount of water stored inside a
circle of soft starch. When the kernel heats up in the
microwave, air popper or on the stove, the water expands until
the kernel bursts open." We Americans consume 16 billion
quarts of this whole grain snack every year, much of it on
Nebraska Cornhusker game day.
foodies picked and shucked about 200 ears of sweet corn that
day Ö in between nibbles of course. The next day we beheld
the most amazing heavenly show I may ever see in my lifetime.
As they say in Nebraska, it truly is a good life.