As we all know by now, Tariq Day, aka the corn kid, loves corn. He’s loved it ever since he found out that “corn was real,” and when he tried it with butter, everything changed. When it comes to corn, he “can’t imagine a more beautiful thing.” Last month, Tariq’s extreme love for corn went viral, captivated the internet, became a hit song, and has perhaps re-inspired people to appreciate a classic (some might even say boring) food item.
But that’s just the thing, corn isn’t boring. And there’s a deeper lesson to be learned from Corn Kid and his wholesome love of corn. As Tariq says, CORN IS AWESOME—and it is, but so are many other simple, straight-forward, tried-and-true foods we enjoy but often take for granted in our innovation-obsessed society.
Corn is good. But what else can we learn from Corn Kid (aside from the art of unapologetic pun use)?
We often undervalue classic foods. Plain chips, original Oreos, plain Cheerios, and Original-flavored anything often get a bad rap. When given the choice between these classics and a new exciting flavor on the market, people often go for the latter. And I get it. As someone who writes about packaged food, I am all too familiar with the feeling of seeing a brand new product come out and immediately NEEDING it. From Tamarind Doritos to Pumpkin Spice Oreos to the latest Trader Joe’s items, a new product or flavor is always an exciting opportunity to taste something you’ve never tasted before.
While I do think it’s good to be adventurous, I also believe we cannot let our quest for new foods and flavors cause us to forget the classics. Corn Kid recognizes this. He really, really loves corn. And while he does like to add butter, he appreciates corn in its simplicity. It might be basic, and it’s definitely not new, but that doesn’t mean it’s not AWESOME.
Corn Kid reminds us that, while it’s more than okay to appreciate a variety of different foods and flavors, we should always take time to appreciate the OGs. Sure, try the Ketchup and Mustard Doritos. But don’t forget about the awesomeness of Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch! And yes, have a Lay’s Wavy Funyuns Onion Flavored Funyuns Onion Flavored Rings chip, but then treat yourself to a Lay’s Original chip and tell me it is not 100% as good—or better.
Of course, you should try the newest trendy flavor of chocolate caramel ice cream with potato chip pieces and Rice Krispies and brownie batter and candied cherries and a little pinch of actual dirt fresh from the garden (for texture) and everything bagel seasoning mixed in! But also take a moment every once in a while to appreciate the extraordinary delight of a bowl of good ol’ vanilla ice cream. Vanilla walked so other ice cream flavors could run, and hundreds of years later, vanilla is still walking (and delicious). Of course, if you really don’t like these simpler flavors, that’s okay (as long as you give them a chance). As Corn Kid says, “You don’t have to like it [for it] to be the best.”
When I was a kid, every Halloween I always wanted the most interesting candies, which meant I would trade a Kit Kat or a Snickers for something more novel or exciting. But inevitably, every year, I ended up with at least one Snickers at the bottom of my candy bag. And when I actually ate it, I was always, without fail, pleasantly surprised by the taste of this classic candy bar. It was so well balanced, delicious, and layered. So let this story, and the lessons of Corn Kid, remind us all not to sleep on the classics, like plain salted chips, vanilla ice cream, original Oreos, and good ol’ corn with butter (it’s got the juice). And most importantly, everyone remember to have a “corntastic” day!