Gadget Or Gimmick: ButterOnce Corn Butter Knife

Corn, for all its glories as the quintessential summer side (never mind that we consume it in some form, year-round) is also one that is notoriously difficult. Shucking it requires pulling off the fine hairs. Getting it off the cob, if you so desire, easily results in nicked knuckles or kernels left behind. Eating it is messy and may result in kernels wedged uncomfortably between teeth. Plus, eaten off the cob, it requires a dining style that, depending on the setting or your level of comfort, might make you look, shall I say, less than refined.
The actual cooking of corn might be the easiest thing about it, a fact that sets it apart from foods that range from pancakes to pizza. For a vegetable that really only needs a couple minutes of heat (applied via water or grill), we have certainly devised plenty of gadgets to deal with it.
Enter: the ButterOnce Corn Butter Knife.
Unlike regular butter knifes, the ButterOnce knife is designed to hold the pat of butter firmly in its concave grasp, allowing you to butter with ease. The device fits the shape of the corn as well, allowing you to quickly grease up every kernel. To test it, I, of course, had to make some corn. As promised, the butter did hold to the knife and spread with ease. But, really, so did my butter knife.
Like any good researcher, I needed a control. And when I used my run-of-the-mill knife to butter up the corn, it stayed on the knife perfectly fine. It might not have had quite the panache of a knife specifically designed for the spherical shape of corn, but neither did it go flying away, leaving me with a half-buttered ear. In fact, of all my years of seeing weird corn accessories (see: Butter Boy), never have I found buttering corn to be particularly onerous. Nor have I ever, come to think of it, really felt the need to dig out the various corn picks that haunt the silverware drawer.
A common invective from professional chefs is that one-use kitchen items should be never, ever used or trusted. But, really, if the one use of the item helps you get things done easier that you already hate doing, what’s the harm? My issue is with the one-use items that accomplish tasks that were never so bad to begin with. A good garlic press just crushes garlic, but if you hate chopping garlic (and getting that smell on your fingers), you’ll reach for it time and time again. If buttering corn is a task that you’ve done with ease for years, you may just forget you have a dedicated knife for it tucked away somewhere. Yes, the ButterOnce knife does what it promises, but I’m not convinced anyone needed that promise in the first place .
Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.

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