Baby corn doesn't share the cuteness factor generally associated with other small things, like puppies or kittens.
Generally canned, the vegetable is most often encountered as a tasteless indicator of a mediocre stir-fry.
But baby corn is getting renewed value thanks to Tiny But Mighty, a new line of popcorn. The brand relies on slim kernels from an heirloom strain of corn, the ears of which grow no larger than the size of an outstretched hand.
Luckily, Tiny But Mighty has plenty of flavor to back up its novel size. Small, thin hulls create a more concentrated nutty taste, which makes the addition of butter unnecessary. And because the hull is thin, less of the usual hard shale lodges between teeth.
The corn is a preservation effort of Gene and Lynn Mealhow, based in Iowa; Gene stumbled on the variety as a consultant for a local farm, then ultimately took on the responsibility for continuing its growth (the strain produces finicky, low-yield plants).
His persistence is our gain, since these petite kernels are reinventing our favorite silver-screen snack.
Time to size up the popcorn bag.