Corn Ma(i)ze


This blog post was meant to be a light mid-summer snack, inspired as it was by my happy consumption of a tender ear of corn-on-the-cob for a July dinner. My post gained some weight in the cooking process, but perhaps you will ingest it anyway. I cannot say how digestible it will be.


Mazola maiden

My corn was spread with butter but it brought back memories of an age when butter was shunned and margarine was touted as the healthy alternative. In the late 1970s, a series of popular advertisements featured a beautiful Native American woman touting the virtues of Mazola Margarine. She was dressed in denim and her shining black hair flowed straight down her back. In the version I recall, the smiling Mazola Margarine maiden appeared in a luxuriant green field while Native Americans danced in the background. In clipped and pleasant tones, she told her audience that corn had always been an essential food for her people. She assured viewers that Mazola had no cholesterol – naturally! – and tasted fresh and delicious. “Mazola Margarine,” she concluded, “it gets goodness from corn!”

What could be more, well, corny? Yet the advertisement still charmed. It was not until I was in graduate school, however, that I learned from a seminar reading assignment that the Mazola maiden had been a significant step in American advertising: Continue reading

Calling All Angels

cwp Friday I couldn’t decide what made me more excited:  the thought of hearing Gavin DeGraw, or Train.  In a perfect storm of Friday, Summer, and My Favorite Bands, both were on the same stage in a concert that I couldn’t have dreamed up.  They were even going to have a band in between called The Script who came all the way from Ireland. They were all performing at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, an award-winning planned community off of I-45 outside of Houston, yet part of Houston all at the same time.

I had a friend who was supposed to come with me, but she ended up having to work, which is not always a bad thing.  So I recruited my twelve year old son, Christopher, to come with me.  I make him listen to a lot of Gavin DeGraw and Train in my car, so I knew he would know a lot of the words, even if he had internalized them under duress. Trust me:  we have “I Don’t Wanna Be” and “Soul Sister” down cold.  The thing I love about The Cynthia Woods Pavilion is that it is outside and easy to get to, and you could bring your whole family if you felt like it.  But I also wanted Christopher to know about George Phydias Mitchell, an amazing man who died last week on July 26th.  He was the man who developed The Woodlands, where over 120,000 people now reside, and he named the concert venue we were going to after his wife, Cynthia Woods Mitchell. Continue reading