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Ina Garten’s shared many of her Barefoot Contessa cooking tips. Among them how to take corn off the cob without making a big mess of the kitchen.

A kitchen towel helps Ina Garten neatly take corn off the cob 

Ina Garten smiles at a Barefoot Contessa book signing in 2008
Ina Garten | Michael Bezjian/WireImage

While promoting Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro in 2019, Garten spoke with Food & Wine about her pro cooking tips. 

“Everybody wants to be able to cook with confidence. When I’m doing something, I find myself thinking, ‘Is this the best way to do it?’ It’s really about recipes and techniques from 40 years in the food business,” she said. 

Also the author of a Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro cookbook, Garten then shared her tip for taking corn off the cob. 

“So for example, what’s the best way to cut corn off a cob? If you put a kitchen towel up on the cutting board and cut it into the kitchen towel, it doesn’t bounce all over the kitchen,” she said before later adding, “All those techniques that make you go, ‘Oh that’s how I can do it!’ That’s what I want people to know.”

Simple but effective, Garten’s towel trick makes taking corn off the cob a lot less messy.  

Ina Garten’s directions for taking corn off the cob


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Garten shared her step-by-step process for taking corn off the cob during an episode of Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro. She explained it all while making Fiesta Corn and Avocado Salad. 

“First I cut off the bottom of the corn so it’ll stand up straight,” she said. “Then I run my knife between the kernels and the husk. Just straight down and they all just come off.” 

“So this is my system for cutting corn,” she added. “Instead of having it bounce all over the kitchen, I get a sheet pan and a clean kitchen towel and I just cut the kernels onto the kitchen towel. Then pick up the kitchen towel and I just put all the kernels right into the bowl.”

How easy is that? Simple, effective, and it doesn’t require any of the less common kitchen gadgets Garten has in her kitchen. Just a sharp knife, cutting board or sheet pan, and a kitchen towel.

Ina Garten has another cooking tip using a kitchen towel

The Barefoot Contessa doesn’t just use kitchen towels to clean up or take corn off the cob. She also uses them to make the perfect potato salad

Gaten drains the potatoes in a colander after they’ve been cooked on the stove. Here’s where the kitchen towel comes in. She then covers the colander with a clean kitchen towel to steam the potatoes. 

“The steam gets in the potatoes and they end up perfectly cooked,” she once explained on an episode of Barefoot Contessa

Another cooking tip from Garten, it’s a great trick to use with any potato salad recipe.