buttering corn on the cob

for all of my life, whenever my family had a meal that one of our sides was corn on the cob, we buttered our corn with a slice of bread with butter loaded up on it that you held cupped in your hand and spun the cob around in it till it was covered with butter. one piece of bread was used to do this for all of the corn we’d eat with that meal.

so fast forward into my adulthood, it seems that most people’s families way of buttering their corn was just to put some on top and smear it around with knife (doing it that way is messier and less effective). and whenever I show them the way I was taught, they basically become instant converts.

I’m surprised always that this isn’t just universally the way it’s done everywhere. I was curious if this is common or not for people in other parts of the country/ world? I’m in the central time zone, middle America.

Never seen the bread thing it in the UK. My standard method is for the corn to go in a bowl, a knob (ha!) of butter on top and black pepper. The butter melts into the bottom of the bowl of course but I normally put a silicone pastry brush in there as well as serving tongs so when you help yourself to a cob you can brush on as much buttery-peppery goodness as you like.

Never heard of the bread idea … but it’s a good one!

Does one traditionally eat the bread, or is that considered uncouth?

I’ll admit that on 1st read, I understood it as being a single slice of bread shared by all at the table e.g. passed around with the butter. In which case, I suppose at the end, the communal slice of bread could be given to a lucky dog, assuming it’s been a Good Boy/Girl of course.

We’ve always done the buttered bread thing as well.

I’ve never heard of the bread method in Canada. I always use the knife method. Doesn’t the bread just turn into a gooey lump of dough?

I have seen people, particularly at large meals, just set a pound of butter on a plate and twirl the cob around in it. After a couple of cobs you get a nice concave cradle for subsequent cobs.

I’ve seen this as well. It always gave my germ-phobia the screaming heebie-jeebies.

Meh. As long as you don’t double dip.

Wasn’t the bread thing shown in “Back To the Future”?

Or some other 80’s movie? That is where I first learned of it.

It was in War Games.
And we usually do the communal stick to twirl on.
I’ve tried the bread method but it added a step and never seemed any better.


There’s not really a factual question here, so this thread isn’t a good fit for GQ. But it is about food, so it’s a good fit for CS. Moving.

Seen it done, agree that it’s brilliant, still don’t do it. Somehow, I just never own sliced bread and corn on the cob at the same time.

It’s done before anyone starts eating. You don’t twirl a half-eaten cob.

If you really need more butter halfway through, that’s when you resort to slicing a pat off and using your fork to smear and mash your slice of butter onto the remaining kernels, all the while lamenting your inability to thoroughly enbutter your cob properly the first time and resolving to ensure adequate butterage on future cobs, assuming of course your family has thr grace to swallow their shame sufficiently to even allow your presence at the dinner table ever again.

Sheesh, dude, get it right.

Putting butter directly on the cob is certainly messy, since melted butter tends to drip off the cob. However, I’m not understanding how putting an equal amount of melted butter on using a slice of bread prevents the butter from dripping off.

If you’re serious about your corn on the cob, it is best managed by inserting a pair of corn stabbers into the ends, so you have good handles, then applying the butter with a corncob-butterer.

I melt a stick of butter in the microwave along with chopped parsley and fresh garlic. Then baste it on with a brush.

We definitely had those stabbers. Also special corn dishes. I would smear it on with a knife, then give it a spin in the dish once it melted.

For whatever reason I never make corn on the cob.


Artificial bread! What will they think of next?

Never heard of the bread thing. Encountered those applicators - messy and wasteful. Don’t care for the remains of a stick of butter that has had corn pressed against it.

Never saw a problem with applying my own butter w/ a knife (or, some use a fork.) Strikes me as a solution in search of a problem.

Doesn’t every civilized home have corn handles? Like others here, we just put a stick of butter on a plate and spin the corn on top, and as mentioned, a nice corn-shaped U develops. Then everyone salts, peppers, and hot sauces their own cob over their plate.

I have heard of this bread method but never tried it. Seems like an extra unneeded step.

I wonder if there is a correlation between these bread people and how the corn is eaten: around or across? :smiley:

Agreed. I don’t want a stick of butter that’s been rubbed with corn and partially melted. I don’t want to waste a slice of bread by using it as a disposable butter-delivery system.

Get a little butter on your knife, spread it along the ear of corn, let it melt a little and run down the sides. It’s not that difficult.