"The monastics should serve one another. Consequently, no one will be excused from kitchen service unless he is sick or engaged in some important business of the monastery, for such service fosters love" Let those who are not strong have help so that they may serve without distress, and let everyone reieve help as the size of the community or local conditions warrant"(RB 35: 1-3).
The cooler has been filled with three pickup loads of sweet corn and the sisters have just about had their fill of the fresh ears at supper; now it is time to begin the corn parties! Before the "Corn Party" sign goes up, some sisters volunteer to gather to husk and wash the corn of their silks. On my way to the corn cutting station, I happened upon a group yesterday as they were laughing, talking, and husking their way through several bushels of sweet corn.
The corn cutters gathered in the kitchen with knives, boards, and a few specialty corn cutters from the South Dakota Corn Palace. We were a bit quieter as we sliced our way through the cooled bushels of steamed ears. (The 'Corn Zipper' was an awesome tool to removed kernels from the cob without cutting too close or slipping!) Later a couple of sisters took away the barrels of husks and cobs and dumped them back in the field to mulch the future harvest.
Last year we cut and froze almost 500 pounds of sweet corn to eat during the rest of the year. Each bite is a treat from summer and a promise of the next year's field. It is also a great reminder of how much we can do together as a community.