No cows in this corn

The kernel gets no respect in France but turns to gold on an American table
JERRY ANNE DI VECCHIO

Top o' the Cove Corn Chowder

In France, corn is mostly grown to feed cattle ― not a bad cause, of course; that cow's milk makes great cheese. But what few ears I see in French markets for human consumption look very old and tired. However, Ronald Zappardino, proprietor of French-influenced Top o' the Cove restaurant in La Jolla, California, more than meets American standards when it comes to corn. Sweet ears take a direct route from the field to his door.

One night, from a romantic corner of the restaurant, I was watching the sun slip over the Pacific Rim (a justifiably praised view) when, lo and behold, another golden orb appeared before me ― a bowl of rich corn chowder to shift my attention to dinner. As I savored the soup, it struck me that French influence on an American classic is not a bad thing. It manages to make coziness elegant.