The bath, it always seemed, was the only way-station for all those ears of corn. The boiling water bath at the back of the stove awaited its height-of-summer assignment: turning just-picked corn into corn you couldn't wait to sink your teeth into.
Along came the grill. And, well, might as well put away that tired old pot.
Emboldened, one summer's eve we did as instructed. Bent back but did not yank off the husks. Pulled away the silks, then returned husks to their hula-skirt position. Soaked in cold water 30 to 60 minutes. Tossed on hot grill, rolling as husks turned to golden brown or beyond. Scooped off grill, let cool for just a minute. At first bite, we became skip-the-bath believers.
We've heard that slathering with butter (herbed or spicy) takes it up a notch. Janine Mac- Lachlan, who teaches farmstand cooking at her Michigan farmhouse, suggests this surefire blend: 1 teaspoon chili powder, 3/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon each: ground red pepper, ground coriander, salt and hot pepper sauce. Add to 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter. Makes enough for eight ears of corn. Just peel back husks, spread chili butter on kernels, and replace husks (you can tie with kitchen string soaked in water to prevent scorching). Grill until slightly charred. We needn't remind you to lick your lips.