Corn on the Cob: Across or Around?


Andrew Prokop, Editing Manager

Although spring has just sprung, it feels as though summer is rapidly approaching. As the weather continues to get nicer, and people push to get outside and escape the cabin fever that feels extraordinarily worse this year, barbecues and cookouts slowly become top-tier weekend activities. Corn on the cob has always been a staple of cookout food, a wonderful cooked side dish that can be a little messy but in a somewhat refreshing, sweet way. When it comes to eating this delectable food, there is a conflict that comes along with it. Corn forks in hand, ready to start eating, do you eat across the cob from one side to the other, or eat around the cob? 

The two options may still not be completely clear so let’s start with across. Similar to a typewriter, slowly moving along the paper before sliding it back to the beginning. Across is essentially eating down the length of the cob, taking either large chunks or going a few kernels at a time, until there is no more corn left in your path and you have to move back to the other side. This is opposed to going around, which is basically starting at any point along the length and rotating the cob as you eat corn until you are forced to move to a different point and repeat the process. 

An across-the-cob eater displays an argument that pushes fun little anecdotes. Whether it be that across is like using a typewriter or how “Looney Tunes use to do it” to quote one coworker. Although these lead to the argument, there is some actual reasoning once you dig a little deeper. Across-the-cob eater tends to like eating row by row, watching the cob methodically disappear as they rotate around. Also, “once the first row is gone you only get butter or juice on either your upper or lower lip which helps make the next bite even better.” 

Fun Fact: If you were to count the number of rows of kernels on any given ear of corn, it would almost always be an even number! 

When it comes to eating corn, the disdain for the judgment passed from one group to another almost goes without saying. Someone from work even said, “they probably aren’t telling you the truth because they know they will be judged poorly.” For some reason, across seems to be a consensus for the “right” way to eat corn. To which I have to say I fervently disagree. This may actually be the first time in this series I will be stating my opinion before the end of the article. I prefer to eat around the cob. I am revealing this because due to my limited sample size, I was the only one in my office to choose “around”. As such, quite a lot of the argument will be coming directly from the source.

Eating around the cob is the best way to eat corn because it makes sense, and I can actually provide reasoning, unlike those across eaters. By starting on one side of the other and eating around, you do not have to worry about that “messy first row” because the first column means you only have exposure to leftover kernels on one side of your mouth. The ends cool faster. So if you eat around on both ends, the corn will still be hot, unlike when you get to the last row across. Moreover, I think most decisively, the utensils that are used are round by nature, meaning the cob is meant to be rolled in your fingertips (as you eat around the cob!). 

As always, I will mention the middle group. This group pecks the cob, taking a bite here or there, no rhyme, no reason. As a pecker said, “I just follow where the corn takes me.” Ugh, that is appalling, and there is nothing good about it, pure chaos. 

What side are you on? Leave a comment down below!