Everyone likes corn.
The United States grows more corn than any other country, over 10 billion bushels in 2003 and a record-large crop in 2004, mostly in the states of Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska.
"Nature gives man corn but he must grind it," observed Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. "God gives man a will but he must make the right choices."
The "right choice" about corn is that over half the annual crop feeds cattle, chickens, hogs, and sheep. One bushel of corn can sweeten over 400 cans of soda. Corn's by-products can be found in cornstarch and plastics, and thousands of other items, including cereals, cosmetics, chewing gum, and crayons. (And that's just some of the products beginning with "C.")
Known as maize throughout the world, corn seeds are planted between late April and early June. The tall, robust annual grows in uniform rows,about 25 inches apart, "a complex and constantly changing community,"described the Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
First produced over 7,000 years ago, corn was believed to be divine. According to Indian legend, "it was the food of the gods that created the earth." Aztec farmers worshiped the god of corn, Cinteotl (Sin-tay-otl), from planting to harvest.
Corn was the miracle food that, with the help of Native Americans, saved the Pilgrims their first winter in the New World (1620), the foundation of the Thanksgiving holiday.
"The story of the New World is the story of corn," explained New Mexico teacher George Dickerson."Corn remains the foundation of modern agriculture in the United States."
Everyone welcomes a piece of traditional cornbread or corn on the cob hot off the grill.
And from Minnesota Public Radio's Garrison Keillor: "Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn."
Here's wishing you a bountiful harvest.