As an old man not on TikTok, I saw corn ribs for the first time Instagram of a favorite restaurant Page a few weeks ago and introduced its grilled corn ribs as its “latest drink snack”. Just days later another ‘gram entered my feed from a restaurant that described its corn ribs roasted in black garlic butter and baked with cheese as a real “summer hit”. And only yesterday the team at Momofuku Ssam Bar Claimed the tech, noting that they first served corn ribs back in 2017 when they were deep-fried and plated alongside squid aioli. (In a review from October 2017, the ‘Pete Wells calls it “one of the most original corn dishes I’ve seen in a long time.” serve a version, simply called sweet corn since 2016. Corn ribs – basically a long strip of kernels of corn with a silver cob attached to glue them all together – are suddenly and inexplicably everywhere. But why??
I’m not asking for the literal why: the answer to that is clear, and obviously TikTok, the platform that spawns a new food trend every other day viral feta noodles from winter 2021 until the beginning of this week the trend towards the consumption of frozen honey (at the expense of the digestive system). Corn ribs started trending for the first time on the platform in February of this year, and its current ubiquity is likely related to the summer season of corn – many recipes also suggest they work great on the grill, making it a potential backyard approach.
I ask about them in a more spiritual sense: Why bother? Like many recipe testers elsewhere Clues – and as can be seen in the original video Posted by TikToker Farrah J – Cutting a corn cob in half seems dangerous; It doesn’t require knife skills as much as the muscles required to force your knife through a cob of corn. When you eat the ribs, the cob is still attached so you have to eat the kernels off the cob like a normal ear – it doesn’t save time. Lots of recipes call for sauce or cheese or other toppings to be poured over the ribs, and the ribs don’t even have the nice, clean ends of a plunger to hold onto, so your hands just get messy that way. And honestly, the curved rib it eats around with seems annoying (a piston is nice and straight! Why are you “fixing” that!).
To be clear, I would definitely eat a corn rib with it in front of me and I will probably enjoy it. I love corn, especially Elote style and with a hint of the grill that still lingers; I love the job of gnawing my ears like a vegetarian caveman, but I also respect it when you saw off the kernels in one fell swoop (shouts to anyone who has ever had braces). Maybe it’s just that a cooked corn on the cob itself doesn’t need improvement. Maybe (probably!) I think too much about this. But it doesn’t stop there that every time a corn rib lands on my Instagram feed, my immediate and visceral reason is: why ??