Open Letter

5th October 2007

Dear Can of Baby Corn,

The hell? How do you keep ending up in my pantry? I never purchase you. I’ve donated you to the food bank at least three times. And yet here you are, again — stony, steadfast, utterly useless. Baby Corn, you are beginning to stress me out.

Even if I wanted to use you, I wouldn’t know how. Grill you and take little, tiny nibbles? Blend you up in a hideous baby-vegetable smoothie? I am at a loss.

Baby Corn, your persistence is unsettling. The can of Haggis, I married into that. Bryan keeps it in the cupboard as an uproarious pantry joke. The twelve cans of aging garbanzo beans? Those are leftover from the overambitious homemade-hummus fiasco of 2006. But you? You are mute and inexplicable.

Go away, Baby Corn. You’re making everyone uncomfortable.

Maggie Mason

P.S. Take the can of Mandarin oranges with you.

59 thoughts on “Open Letter

  1. Jen

    Your pantry has been inspired by Tom Robbins, “Skinny Legs and All” – that can of corn *wants* to be in your house :)

  2. Lynne

    Only you can write an open letter to a canned vegetable that has me make me laughing out loud alone in my office. Hell, only you would *write* an open letter to a canned vegetable. And that’s why I keep coming back here.

  3. Melanie

    Just as an FYI: my two-year old son LOVES baby corn. Always begs it off of our plates when we make stir-fry. SO, it might come in handy some day.

  4. jessica

    my 14 month old daughter LOVES baby corn. Our store has them fresh, but only “in season” (what is “Season” for minature vegetables?) the rest of the year I buy the canned for her. many times people ask “what do you do with these?”. Can you believe “Eat them” is never a good enough answer for these people?

  5. M. Darin Oranges

    Open Letter to the Mighty Mrs. Mason:
    Why you gotta be hatin’ on me? I’ve done nothing wrong to insult you. It’s not as if the baby corn and I are an item. I have no loyalty to any miniature vegetable. Show me some luv and I’ll show you a good salad; try me with some toasted walnuts and gorgonzola on greens with a crisp raspberry vinagrette and then you’ll never want to be rid of me again. Throw me in a bowl with a sliced banana and some fresh strawberries and we’ll live happily ever after. Just don’t tell the baby corn.
    M. Darin Oranges (‘Darin O to those who know me)

  6. Nancy

    I’m with Darin….. there is a chance canned oranges may be the only fruit that Hank eats.

    Okay, so that’s my kid….

  7. lindsayc

    wait until Hank starts eating solids and is able to feed himself- baby corn is like CANDY to kids. and reasonably ok to feed them, not really nutritious but not horrible either.

  8. Leeanthro

    My toddler LOVES mandarin oranges. She can eat an entire can in one setting.

    But I can’t stand baby corn. I pick around it in my chinese takeout. Bluck!

  9. Kate

    I’ve had a can of vegetarian haggis in my cupboard for close to 10 years now. It’s moved with me 3 times.

  10. Seth

    Wait wait wait. Let us revisit the hummus fiasco of 2006. Homemade hummus is great, blender + beans + salt + pepper + olive oil + roasted garlic = AMAZING. With 12 cans you could make 4 batches of hummus… Sundried tomato hummus, pesto hummus, bacon hummus. I would choke my family with hummus if ever we had the patience to accumulate 12 cans.

    By the way canned haggis seems like fodder for “steve don’t eat it!”

    I think you guys should do a rip off and crack that can open.

  11. cathy

    remember when Tom Hanks ate the baby corn at the grown up party in the movie Big? He ate it like a regular size corn on the cob, eating one row of kernals at a time, one side to the other. That was so funny!

    My kids love to eat mandarin oranges out of the can! All that yummy sugar in the syrup?

  12. Dana

    I also wish baby corn would go away. I wish that it would disappear from the shelves at the supermarket also, and as you said, it should take the mandarin oranges too.

    Great post!

  13. Lisa

    I’m with Quel. I just found 5 cans of either “Pure Pumpkin” or “Pumpkin Pie Filling” in my cupboard. I have no idea why I have them, as I am happy to admit that I usually buy a delicious pumpkin pie from Heidi’s every holiday season.

    Ohhh, I bet I was trying to make those “healthy” chocolate pumpkin muffins from the Weight Watchers site again. Yeah, those were a hit.

  14. jenn

    dear baby corn

    i. love. you. you and the mandarin oranges can come to my house where you will be loved and appreciated instead of mocked and shunned.

    waiting your arrival..

  15. Writer-Editor

    The one Martha Stewart recipe I swear by is her recipe for hummus. Simple, easy, delicious.

  16. Emily

    The mandarin oranges are really good in salad. Drain them and add them to a salad of lettuce, sweet peppers, red onion, and feta. Add a vinegrette dressing. Soooo good….like your post. And where do all the Rahmen noodles come from?? I never buy them…..?

  17. Sta

    I have another mandarin orange salad recipe. It’s very delicious. And easy. I promise.

    Mandarin Salad
    1/4 cup sliced almonds
    1 TBSP and 1 tsp sugar
    romaine lettuce torn in bits (or a bag will do)
    2 med. stalks celery chopped (about one cup)
    2 green onions thinly sliced (about 2 Tbsp)
    1 can (or 1.5 if you’re like me) mandarin oranges drained.

    Cook the almonds and sugar over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar melts and almonds are coated. Cool and break apart. Store at room temperature.

    Place lettuce, celery and onions in a bowl. Add orange segments and almonds. Top with sweet and sour dressing (see below) and toss.

    Deliciously sweet and succulently sour dressing.

    1/4 c. veggie oil
    2 Tbsp sugar
    2 Tbsp white vinegar
    1 Tbsp snipped parsley
    1/4 tsp. salt
    dash of pepper
    big dash of red pepper sauce (such as Frank’s)

    Shake all ingredients in a container with a tight lid. Refrigerate until needed.

  18. Leah

    agreed with Laura — baby corn is super yummy in stir fry. Send the baby corn my way!

    I’ll take the mandarin oranges too. I have some jello to use :-p

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  20. dgm

    What, you never saw “Big”? The only way to eat baby corn is with baby nibbles. And you don’t even have to toss the cob.


    I’ve had a can of diced peas & carrots that have been with us since college. I keep meaning to include it with the food pantry donation stuff, but it always pushed way too far in the back and I forget.

    It’s almost part of our family now.

  22. Jan

    My house is home to two cans of wax beans that insist of living here. They clearly mate for life because I’ve given both to food drives numerous times, as you have, Maggie, with the baby corn, but they find their way back every time, in tandem, mocking me from the cabinet, having muscled aside the things I bought on purpose. The wax beans were a mistake, stocked as they were next to regular green beans, but now that they’re here, they’ve imprinted on my pantry and refuse to be discarded. I’m ignoring them, hoping they’ll go away.

  23. Angie

    Hmmm….let me know if it goes, maybe I’ll try it with that can of disugsting mixed veggies that keep apearing in the pantry.

  24. Auntie Yolanda

    How timely, since the season for giving to the food bank is just around the corner, here is a do and don’t list.

    Do NOT donate: Baby Corn, Okra, Teeeny Tiny jars of jam or jelly that came in some lame gift basket, Cranberry anything, canned pumpkin.

    DO donate, peanut butter, regular size jars of jam or jelly, canned corn kernels, peas, green beans, tuna, coffee, dry pasta, tomato sauce, and yes mandarin oranges or any other canned fruit.

    Please note the expiration dates on all donations. If it has been in your cupboard or pantry for more than a year, THROW IT AWAY! Those of us who bag up the food for those in need and those in need will appreciate it.

  25. Mariam

    From (I’m sure your friend Heather could have given you the recipe for this epicurean delight):

    Grandma’s Orange Jello Salad:

    1 box orange Jell-O
    1 11oz can of mandarin oranges
    1 8oz can crushed pineapple
    1 pint small curd cottage cheese
    1 container non dairy whipped cream
    1/2 cup chopped pecans

    Dissolve Jell-O in one cup very hot water; put into refrigerator until slightly set. Drain oranges and pineapple until dry. Press cottage cheese dry between paper towels. Fold all ingredients together; pour into serving dish and refrigerate for a few hours.

    Recipe submitted by Lisa, Staff Writer from the St. Johns Salem Ward.

  26. denise

    i was just wondering, before i got to auntie yolanda’s comment, how many food banks regularly get baby corn, wax beans, canned potatoes, mandarin oranges and other undesired food items.

    i always picture this family getting a bag of groceries like that and looking at each other like, wtf?

  27. Vanessa

    I agree, those will become very handy finger foods in the next few months. Along with the garbonzo beans… we call them chick peas though, a little more cuteness for the 5 year olds.

  28. Mary

    I could do something with baby corn. What I consistantly fail to understand, though, is what I’m supposed to do with bamboo shoots? I don’t think they’ll grow even if soaked in miracle-gro. And it’s so far from our ethnic-food-backgrounds that I cannot conceive of any use for them other than beating dust bunnies over the head.

  29. T Grum

    Baby corn is good. I used to eat it pickled when I was a kid, which is rare to find in the stores nowadays.

  30. Renee

    My friend just showed me this post, I laughed so hard, then I tried to type in your blog address and typed mightycorn on accident, I think it’s a sign, that babycorn just won’t let you go.

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