The son of a Massachusetts botanist, Anthony Boutard eventually found his way to farmland in Oregon in 1998. With eighty arable acres, Ayers Creek Farm is where he and his wife, Carol, have been producing crops for local chefs and markets ever since.
Always experimenting, Boutard’s love and appreciation for corn and how it could be used in cooking led to the writing of this newly released book, Beautiful Corn: America’s Original Grain from Seed to Plate. In it, he celebrates the history, genetics, and use of this marvelous crop as food, reminding us how off-course we’ve gotten from the origins of this “beautiful” plant and its seeds from numerous heritage varieties.
Boutard likes using flint corn to make polenta and he has tested many corn varieties for use in cornbread.
He also likes to leave the corn stalks in the field through the winter months for the wildlife.
Now just might be the time for a revival and celebration of what is possible with corn as a food and as our national legacy, and this book might be what it takes to inspire us.
This is what Dan Barber, Chef / Co-Owner, Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, had to say about the book:
Anthony Boutard tells a story of corn we haven’t heard—not as fuel, or livestock feed, or food product—but as whole food, with the flavor and diversity that comes with thoughtful farming. Part history, part how-to manual (Boutard grows, grinds and cooks corn in all its variations), Beautiful Corn returns the culture, and the cuisine, to our most abundant and mistreated crop.
NOTE that I’m proud to say that Anthony Boutard is a friend of this site and occasionally leaves a very valued comment here. That said, I’m jealous, as this is the book that I wish I could have written.