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Gladys Knight’s on Her Aunt Velma's Corn Off the Cob

Corn off the cob, recipe below

Started a series this month on corn as part of my food and history blog. In writing my book Hog and Hominy http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14638-8/hog-and-hominy/excerpt, I read a lot of autobiographies including Gladys Knight’s. We call Aretha Franklin the Queen of Soul, James Brown the God Father of Soul, but many also call Knight as the Empress of Soul. Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1944, Knight made her mark as the featured singer in the Motown group Gladys Knight & the Pips and later as a solo artist. But few know that Knight is also a serious foodie (Her son is the owner of the Atlanta based restaurant franchise with her name on it, Gladys Knight & Ron Winans’ Chicken & Waffles. “I’m not going to come out and claim that the Knight family of Atlanta, Georgia, actually invented soul-food cooking,” says Knight, “but we certainly played a role in refining it into a fine art.” She goes on to say, “my aunt Velma made a corn off the cob with bacon and onions and peppers that was known to make grown people smile in their sleep for a week after they’d eaten.” Here is a user friendly hybrid corn off the cob recipe for the traditionalist and vegan.

Corn off the cob recipe

8 ears very fresh corn
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (vegan substitute)
½ cup of chopped onions
½ cup of chopped red and green peppers
6 slices of cooked bacon or bacon substitute
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the corn into a large bowl. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the corn, onions, peppers, and bacon. Season with salt and plenty of pepper and cook for three minutes, stirring frequently with a spatula. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings. Serve it up with some fresh made butter milk biscuits with a side of warm butter and molasses for sopping.

The Series Appetite City premieres on cable channel NYC Media on 8/11 at 8:30 pm. I appear in the first show in the episode “Soul Food.” For those who don’t get the channel, you can watch the show on-line at:   www.nyc.gov/media   go to the V.O.D. player and look up Appetite City.   The show will be uploaded the day after the broadcast premiere.

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