How to eat corn on the cob

Steve asked me to address

[t]he correct way to eat corn on the cob. Vertical or horizontal rows?

There must be a vigorous debate about this somewhere on the internet, if not around your own diner table. Uncharacteristically, I will answer without doing any research whatsoever. This is a pure, armchair philosophized WAG:

Let us presume a world in which there are two types of people: those with fine motor skills that exceed gross motor skills and vice versa. This is not so implausible, is it? Though, I admit, it ignores those for whom fine and gross motor skills are equivalently matched. This edge case must be a tiny subset, so it’s a negligible modeling error. Let us also imagine the case for which the eater wants to consume her corn at a constant rate. This, of course, must hold at least for short durations of dining. Generalization to time varying corn consumption rates is not so hard.

Horizontal corn eating (down the rows first, end-to-end) relies more strongly on gross motor skills. The fine, twiddling of fingers to turn the ear only occurs at row ends. The grosser movement of the arms must maintain a constant velocity between row changes. However, vertical corn eating (across the rows first, circularly) relies more strongly on fine motor skills, twisting fingers just so to keep up a constant angular velocity. Meanwhile, shifts down the row, between full circles of corn consumption, are in short spurts. Hence, the correct way to eat corn on the cob depends on motor skill dominance type.

There are, of course, many other ways to eat corn on the cob (e.g., haphazardly or diagonally). The posited model is too crude to accommodate these possibilities. Since, by the form of his question, Steve clearly did not intend for me to entertain these possibilities, I think my job is done here.

Related: How to eat a muffin while walking.


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