Summer Corn Salad – and THANK YOU for being the “real” reality!



Today I’m bringing you what is, in my mind, the perfect summer salad for a picnic or barbecue. It’s cool, refreshing, has a blend of great flavors that work together perfectly, and is a cinch to make. Don’t you just love recipes like that? I sure do!

But y’all know it is a rare thing for me to just go headlong right into a recipe. I like to take ya on a few trips around the block first and then we get down to the cooking biz. :)

Today’s post is no different.

Us. Without Kids. Away from home. First time in 13 years!

Recently, Ricky and I went away for a weekend together. Without kids. Away from home. For two whole nights! We have been married thirteen years next month and this is the first time we’ve been able to do something like that. We went to the WinShape retreat center in Rome, Georgia, on the campus of Berry College. This is a beautiful place staffed by truly wonderful people – no surprise then that it is owned by the Cathy family (the folks who own Chick Fil A). Our retreat was relaxing and wonderful but I may get around to going into that more in a future post. My purpose here is to tell you about a woman I learned of there, that I had never heard of before, who literally changed the world.

Martha Berry was an amazing woman, born to wealth in the old South. One Sunday, while reading her bible in a little log cabin on her parent’s property, she noticed some children looking in her window. She invited them in and said that they should be in school or Sunday School and they replied that there wasn’t one. So, she spent the afternoon telling them bible stories and before sending them on their way. Before they left though, she told them that if they came back the following Sunday and brought their siblings, she’d tell them some more stories.

They returned with more children each Sunday thereafter and soon her little cabin was overflowing with families. Martha’s father gave her some land and they began meeting weekly in a whitewashed cabin built just for them. Martha saw the need for education for the poorer families and set out to make a difference. She started her school by offering free education to the children in exchange for them providing neccesary labor to advance the school. Boys studying carpentry built buildings and furniture, those studying agriculture provided labor to produce products to feed and bring an income into the school, etc. Martha used common sense and called on the community to help build up the community, eventually founding Berry College.

Berry College is still a thriving and beautiful campus today in Rome, Georgia. Benefactors have included United States Presidents, Henry Ford, Vanderbilts, and Carnegies. Martha’s story spans a great deal of time and is so inspiring that I could never do it justice in a single blog post, or even a single blog, but I wanted to introduce you to her and hope that you’ll take the time to get to know this woman who went on to dedicate her life entirely to these children and their families. You can read a fuller version of Martha Berry’s story by clicking here, and trust me, my version was highly condensed!

She dedicated her entire life to these children, never marrying or having children of her own, and there is simply no telling how the world has been affected by this single person and her acts of selfless dedication to others.

We’ve been very fortunate in the past few years to be able to travel a little bit as a family and learn about amazing people in our country’s history. I’ve realized the importance of educating our kids on people like this, historical figures who changed the course of the world with their own honor and integrity. Even though school touches on a few of them, I think today’s history books tend to focus far more on events and far less on character. Events fill our kids minds with dates and data, but character education equips them with the tools to navigate life – so leaving out these great examples has proven to be a terrible loss.

The other night Ricky and I were talking about reality television and it’s effects on our society. We flipped through channels and saw a beautiful and wealthy young woman with an entire show based around x-raying part of her body to prove to her fans that it was real. An entire thirty minutes of national network time devoted to that. I have also seen shows entitled “Real housewives” that follow well-to-do women as they shop, have gossip sessions, and pick public (and loud) fights with one another. I’m sure these are lovely ladies but what we see portrayed on television is such a far cry from the selfless, loving, women I know who sacrifice each day to look after their families, some of them even working outside the home to boot. Now those are REAL housewives.

I’m glad they didn’t have television in Martha Berry’s time. We would’ve been a whole other country entirely. Nah, come to think of it, I doubt that would have effected Miss Berry. She was too busy looking after the needs of others to worry about whether someone she’d never met had all real body parts. When our hearts are on things of substance, we don’t have time to covet silicone.

Today I just wanted to tell you about Martha and assure you that people like this still exist. In fact, I’d be willing to wager that you’re one of them. People of honor, integrity, and selflessness by far outnumber selfminded folks you can see on television every day. They just don’t get the air time. But you know, they really should. You really should.

While you may not have your fifteen minutes of fame for looking after your parents, sacrificing to raise your kids, giving to your neighbor even when things may be tight for your family, letting that stressed out mom go ahead of you in the grocery store line, or just holding the door for whatever stranger happens to be entering the building behind you, I want you to know that you are seen and you are appreciated and you are making the world a better place.

And we don’t need x-ray proof to show that your heart is big, and it is most certainly real.

So thank you for what you are doing to make this world better for all of us. Yes, you. Reading this. You are appreciated. Stop blinking because I see you looking at the computer and you know I’m speaking directly to you.

I’m certain that Miss Martha Berry herself would be proud to call you friend.

Now go find someone to give you a hug for me and then come back here and make this corn salad!

You’ll need: Bottle Italian Dressing (you only need a cup), 2 cans whole kernel corn, small onion, bell pepper, and two tomatoes.

Note: Size of tomato or onion doesn’t really matter here.

You can use fresh or frozen corn but you’ll need to cook it in water until tender first.

Drain your corn, chop all your veggies, and toss it all in a bowl with a cup of that Italian dressing.

Stir well.

Isn’t this a beautiful bowl? It is pyrex and called “Sunflower”.

Now cover that and refrigerate it for several hours before serving.


Summer Corn Salad
  • 2-15 ounce cans whole kernel corn, drained*
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 Cup Italian Dressing (I use regular but you can use Zesty Italian if you like)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate several hours.
  2. Can be made up to two days ahead of time. This is delicious and the perfect side for a barbecue!
  3. *If you'd like to use fresh or frozen corn just cook it in water until tender and drain well.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”


Submitted by Traci Watson. Submit your quote by clicking here.


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  1. Kay Verdi says

    Christy, you made me cry! I’ve been having a tough time lately and your kind words were what I needed. You always make my day better! I love your emails. I may not live in the South but I am a Southerner at heart. I also loved the creams corn and green beans recipes from last week – made them both on Sunday. Yum! Thanks again for always brightening my day!

  2. Becky says

    It makes my day to see a good old fashioned Christy Jordan post! I know you’re really busy these days, and it’s so good to have you give us all a chatty post with lots of pictures like you used to be able to fit in! : ) Thanks!!!
    Hey, my husband and I had a weekend to ourselves for the second time in 15 years to celebrate our anniversary! I loved it, but I was SO homesick for my kids!

  3. Sue Walker says

    Dear Christy,
    I have to agree with the other posters. Thank you for your kind words in your post which brightened up my day. It really struck a note and made me feel better all day. You too are appreciated.

  4. Janet says

    Hi Christy! As an “older” grandma, I have almost quit watching tv because of these reality shows. I would rather watch a silly comedy than watch teenage girls and women cat fight! No wonder teenagers have such a skewed view of the world!

    Thanks for telling it like it is Christy! What a wonderful story you have given us. Now when the grandkids come over, I am going to tell them about this wonderful woman. And thanks for that great recipe-we are having it for dinner tonite!

  5. June Slater says

    I made this recipe last week and we really liked it. I didn’t have any Italian dressing so I used a half cup of Vidalia Onion Vinagrette and it was good. We’re having a picnic this coming weekend and I think I’ll try it again with the Italian dressing.

    May I share the story of how I came to have your cookbook? I merchandise books and magazines at Kroger grocery stores and last December your book came to the store. I leafed through it for a minute and was so impressed with the stories and the “real” recipes using ingredients we have in our cabinets. I decided then and there to buy the book for my youngest daughter, who loves to cook. I did, she made several recipes and raved about them (she says you’re so much better than Paula Deen or Rachel Ray!) and for my birthday in March, guess what I received….Southern Plate! My husband says I can now get rid of all my other cookbooks because yours is the only one I’ve used since then.

    Thans for being who you are and sharing your life with all of us!

  6. Dayna Rye says

    When your youngest gets a little older you should send both of your kids to Camp Winshape, then you could have 2 weeks with just you and your husband! My son (11) went to Camp for the first time this summer and loved it! Our daughter went every year from age 8-13. It is a wonderful Camp!

  7. says

    Tahnk you for being so real, Christy. I haven’t been on Southern Plate for long but was hooked after just one reading of your recipes! Happened on it while looking for a recipe for green fried tomatoes (and let me just say, I followed your directions and they were delicious!) I have not found another site with your twist of blogging and pictures! wow. Keep it up, girl! You’ve got it goin’ on!

  8. Gail says

    Thanks for the beautiful tribute to Martha Berry and wonderful Berry College. My children attended Camp Winshape for many years and we all have many happy memories of their experience. PLUS my husband and I always enjoyed our 2 week vacation while they were at camp!! Now back to the recipe….

  9. Lori says

    I have been wanting to make a summer corn salad for a while now, thanks for the nudge! Berry College is such a beautiful place. I grew up in Menlo a little town about 45 min from Rome and I always loved going there, especially the water wheel! So pretty!

  10. says

    That’s it?! What an easy recipe and a great story about Berry College! I really did feel like you were talking to me. Okay, I know you were talking to me. Thank you for your encouraging words. When I was younger I worried that nobody would see what I do for people. Now I know that it doesn’t matter if other people see it, God sees it and that’s good enough for me!

  11. Johnnie Stevens says

    Th tribute to Berry College was enjoyable…but so much was missing Sort of like telling the story of the USA assuming it all began about 1971. The Winshape facility is actually on the former Mt. Berry School for boys campus, where I attended 1951 to 1955 did it actually precede the College?It was a wnonderful placce along with the girls school also. To earn our way we worked 2 days of each week and went to school 4 days . Boys and girls became men and women ahead of their time by such an experience. Yes it is beautiful but visit again with a greater vision. If this note seems CORNY then just return it and I will put some of it in that Great Summer Corn Salad that I can hardly wait to try. Do not be critical of this note I am not a typist only a country doctor.

    • Mimi says

      I have been making this for years and I, too, use mayo and add salt and pepper to taste. I have never eaten it with Italian dressing but I do love it on a couple of pasta salads I make. I am one of those people who loves mayo on just about anything.

  12. Laverne Wright says

    Oh, Berry…what a beatiful place. I am one of those lives changed by Martha Berry, having graduated from the college in 1965. The experience still influences my life every day. I have not, however, ever experienced a get away to the retreat center in the former Normandy dairy barns. I can visulaize the spires on top of those buildings as I type. That trip is on my bucket list.

  13. Alyce Booth says

    First time I’ve really read your post and it was great!! You are spot on in your commentary about what is really important!! Thanks for this outlook and encouragement to all ladies who do try to make a difference!

  14. Tammy says

    Im Deffinitely gonna have to fix this sounds yummay..a great Hot weather cookout side…Ty Christy…I look forward to Many more of your Amazing Recipes…Blessings for you and your family…CT

  15. Peggy Watson says

    Oh YUM & healthy…..makes my mouth water just looking at the picture of this salad….gotta purchase the ingredients & make it today………..Slurp!

    Thanks for posting this….. ;D

  16. Linda says

    This is a GREAT Summer salad and I am sure you could modify if you want, but it is great the way it is. The Bell peppers add more or less depends upon your tase…. Thanks for the recipe

  17. Jennie says

    Teary here too. I flip though and see those same shows and wonder why our kids can’t watch shows like Andy Griffith and The Carol Burnett show…instead our kids are being shown junk that pollutes their brains.
    Thank you for being you. I appreciate it a lot.

  18. Laura says

    This is so easy & VERY GOOD. I have to say that I never thought of eating cold corn before, but this was good, and something I will make again. I did use grape tomatoes because the good tomatoes haven’t come in yet here in Pennsylvania. Thanks again!

  19. JoAnn says

    A great reminder about Berry College. We spent two years there while my husband finished his degree in 1967. I was so intrigued by the place and what Martha Berry accomplished. I think I covered every inch of that beautiful campus many times, enjoying the quiet serenity of it. It is an incredible place with so much history connected to it. Martha Berry was a great lady that has left a legacy that will be remembered forever.

  20. Claudia Denholm says

    I just made this corn salad as a side dish for dinner, and it was delicious! However I used only one-half a cup of dressing, and that was plenty, maybe a tad too much, even. Thanks for the recipe.

  21. Deena says

    Thank you. I live in Nottingham, England and we have exactly that problem. I got rid of my TV because of all the reality shows – which don’t look anything like life as I know it. I think it makes people, shallow and uncaring, I’m sure I’ve seen them becoming less nice in the last fifteen years or so. I try always to do what I can to be good to the people around me and to have a positive effect on the world. I am an atheist, so I have no believe in a reward or punishment, no believe in a purpose of life, just an idea that people are nice I should treat them kindly and with great respect. Its good to know other people are doing that too, for what ever personal reasons. I’m off to claim my hug from my sister now, then to make the corn. Thanks for posting.


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