Cooler Corn

Chicago's Lakefront comes alive each summer with a summer-long picnic replete with grills, blankets, tents, hammocks, boom boxes ... and "my corn is cooler than your corn" cooler corn ...

There’s a phenomenon that happens every summer along the Lakefront in Chicago …

… and I’m not talking about the hordes of people who flock to the beaches in their swimsuits and flip flops and matching towels.

I’m talking about the hordes of people who flock to the green spaces surrounding the beaches.  Along the Lakefront.   And it's not just random groups of people flocking there.  It's full-on families.  Extended families.  Moms and dads and toddlers and teens and grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles …

… arriving at dawn and staying till dusk …

… arriving with hibachis and grills and coolers and tarps and tents and blankets and chairs and boom boxes.

Moving in for the long haul …

And as I walk past them on my way to the sandy shoreline, I can’t help but to be fascinated about what their stories may be …

Like how far did they travel?  How early did they need to arrive to get that prime shady spot and that prime parking spot? Do they come every day?  Is there some kind of hierarchy among the various families?  Fights about who gets what tree?  Feuding among these Lakefront neighbors  … complete with star-crossed teen lovers?

And I imagine they live in apartment buildings with no or limited air conditioning …

… with no or limited outdoor space …

… so the Lakefront becomes their back yard.  A reprieve on sweltering summer days …

… a giant summer-long picnic.

And as I sat on the beach last weekend chatting with a friend while watching a woman swaying gently on a giant hammock tied between two trees, I first learned about cooler corn.

And I don’t mean “my corn is cooler than your corn” cooler corn.

You see, when some of these families first arrive at the Lakefront – and before the sun has fully risen in the sky  -- they put a giant pot of water on the grill.  And while it works up to a rolling boil they husk a bunch of ears of corn.  And they place those shucked ears of corn in a clean cooler.  And when that water boils, they fill the cooler with it ...

... right on top of that shucked corn.

And then they firmly shut the lid.

And that’s where those ears of corn cook.

And stay. Hot.

All. Day. Long.

I mean, how cool is that?


Linda is a wife, mother, Chicago homeowner … and creator and author of it all started with paint blog.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Stephanie Price July 23, 2012 at 07:55 PM
This is a great idea...never heard of it!
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