The smiley-faced stainless steel model actually does what it’s supposed to. The argument against blowing 12 bucks on this unitaskers is that your chef’s knife will do an adequate job of stripping corn from the cob – and if you’re making a corn pudding (or hoecakes, diversion here, I had a dream about hoecakes and was planning to research them when Felicia Lee, in an obvious moment of synchronicity, posted her fabulous recipe. The synchronicity meme repeated for me, watching Anthony Bourdain expertly whip up a batch of beurre blanc for a No Reservations garden party, me deciding to try that since I never had, and Francis Lam posting his recipe.) where can scrape the cob a second time to get all the succulent juices to boost the corn amplitude of your finished creation. It is probably even faster, but since I got the corn zipper, I’ve used it exclusively.
Let’s take a look at a kernel of corn to see why. When you use a knife to cut, the edge of the cob acts as the resistance point to guide the knife stroke. Fine and dandy, but it also causes the radicles to get snipped off and left behind, protected by the “shoulders” holding the kernels to the cob. A second scrape will get most of them, but the precision shape of the teeth of the corn zipper allow you, if you’re careful (cutting only two rows at a time), to nab them in the first cut. Hey, while we’re discussing corn anyway, did you know that every row of corn on the same cob has the same number of kernels?
I’ll end each of my unitasker profiles with the question, “How can it hurt you?” I justify that by telling that one of the worst wounds I ever suffered in food prep came from a melon baler. It slipped off the cantaloupe and gouged melon ball sized hunk of flesh from my palm. So, this part of the discussion is important. Look at those two fangs on the underside of the corn zipper, hiding behind that smiley face. They ain’t bit me yet, but I respect them because they are always cutting towards the hand holding the corn cob. I suggest using the left hand thumb to hold the thick end of the cob while you cut safely on the other side of the ear. I rate the Kuhn Rikon corn zipper as “useful, but not completely essential” with a danger rating of 2 (out of 10).