Emily, one of the things that confounds me about the French (and I'm 1/4 myself) is their rejection of corn as human food. It tends to suggest that instead of being epicures--not afraid to try any food obviously wholesome--that some French, at least, are just food snobs. Gee, they'd fit right in here in San Francisco! Please see if you can find sweet corn and make it for your friends.
Aren't we all lucky enough to live where our favorite varieties are grown? Science indeed is responsible for corn that will stay sweet after harvest, and, frankly, some is better, but I like it all. For that matter, what's with my fellow Californians shucking the corn in the grocery store? Nature provided corn with a wrapper that helps keep it fresh. Why leave that wrapper at the store? You're paying by the ear, not the pound, so why bring home corn that's turning stale as you pay for it?
I shuck and silk it, trim the bottom (get every last bit of the husk off now!) and put it in a large kettle of cold water--nothing else. Put on the lid, bring to a boil, then turn off the flame. Leave the lid on and wait 20 minutes for corn that's perfectly cooked every time. Wait a little longer and it will still not get overcooked. I melt butter, pour it into a corn dish and roll the ear in it, which is less messy and wasteful than cold butter from the fridge.
Friends in Iowa in mid-August simply soaked the unshucked corn in cold water for two minutes, then grilled. They removed the husk and silk afterwards, with one quick motion--all silk gone. Delicious!
Muppets corn is shucked and washed. Mix a package of Knorr (not Lipton, it's too salty) onion soup mix into 1/2 pound softened UNsalted butter. Spread thickly on the corn, wrap individually in foil and grill. Oops, I don't remember for how long! This works baking it in the oven, too. When you unwrap it, it's buttered and salted.
An old Midwestern trick is to put a little peanut butter on the corn after butter and before salt. A LITTLE! It just makes it taste sweeter somehow. Once I stretched the Muppets butter mix with peanut butter. No one noticed the peanut butter taste but all kept complimenting me on the very sweet corn.
Forget those plastic corn holders with the nails embedded, they never last. Williams-Sonoma sells stainless steel cornholders, and they're as strong as--stainless steel! They're not cheap, but they should last forever.
I just asked my partner if he'd go to the store--for corn! He said no. Alas!