Top Pick Of The Week

November 22, 2005

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Glad Corn

Glad Corn won't win the beauty competition, but its authentic maize flavor and all-natural ingredients will make a fan of anyone who wants intense corn flavor instead of the more diluted corn taste of corn chips. Photography by Melody Lan.

Glad Corn: A-Maizing Snack

Some people might call Glad Corn a variation of gourmet popcorn. One online retailer heralds it as “the best corn snack in America,” which we think actually diminishes the achievement of this most stellar product. We would call it both a breakthrough snack and a spiritual experience…a cosmic tie to the ancient Americans who first grew maize, roasted it, and snacked on popcorn.

As you can see in the photograph, Glad Corn isn’t popcorn in any traditional sense. It is not-yet-popped kernels of corn, at the brink of erupting, still in their little shell casings but filled with the soft, white corn that is straining to burst forth.

If you like the quasi-popped kernels at the bottom of the popcorn bowl and tentatively chew on them hoping to find one that’s soft enough to yield authentic corn flavor without cracking your teeth (we are one of those people)’ll be thrilled to discover Glad Corn.

Yes, we like regular popcorn—those big, white puffs with a faint taste of corn. But we love intense corn flavor—what you get from good corn chips, fire-roasted fresh corn, and those not-quite-yet-popped kernels at the bottom of the bowl, right before they burst. 

And that is the breakthrough of Glad Corn. Think of those kernels as firm and crunchy yet softly yielding to the teeth—even great-grandma can chomp on them without trepidation. They combine the deep corn flavor of a quality corn chip with the wholesomeness of an unprocessed product like popcorn—just corn, non-hydrogenated soybean oil, and a light dusting of salt.

Glad Corn is unique.

Products are discovered (Aha! Fragrant red objects hanging from trees!), invented (What happens if we grind this stuff up, mix it with water, and heat it?), or happen by accident (ganache literally means “imbecile,” allegedly born when a Parisian pastry apprentice accidentally knocked some scalded milk into a bowl of chocolate and his master called him un ganache for ruining both materials).

Glad Corn falls into the latter category. The accident happened in the kitchen of Stan and Gladys Friesen, farmers who grow 500 acres of corn and soybeans near Mountain Lake, Minnesota. As the story goes, it was a quiet night on the farm. Gladys was catching up on some reading; and Stan, who likes to experiment with independent energy sources, was in the kitchen working on a new ethanol fuel recipe with a batch of popcorn. Stan stepped into the living room for a moment and suddenly, KABOOM! Stan and Gladys came running to find exploded corn all over the kitchen. While it looked like a mess, it was a tasty mess: the accident created Glad Corn.

We first tasted Glad Corn earlier this year in a showcase of products sponsored by the National Association of Specialty Food Trade (the specialty food industry’s professional association), in Chicago. We taste thousands of products a year, and this one stood out. It transported us far beyond the Midwest, to the ancient pueblos of the southwest and Mesoamerica. We immediately wanted more.

When we got large bags with which to taste and test, we found Glad Corn to be much more than a snack-from-the-bag food.  It is equally delightful:

  • With cocktails, instead of nuts
  • To sprinkle in salads, soups, and on plain yogurt
  • As a plate garnish—scatter a few kernels along with hearty fare like chops
  • As a mix-in with trail mix or other sweet and/or salty snack mixes

Following the success of original Glad Corn, the Friesens developed three flavors: Bar-B-Q, Gourmet Cheddar, and Jalapeño. Based on the bags we had, Gourmet Cheddar and Jalapeño need further work: the Cheddar flavor was so faint, it could have passed for Original.  Jalapeño had a faint burn but no particular jalapeño flavor. Bar-B-Q is the best, with a flavor similar to barbecue potato chips. If you like the chips, you’ll like the Glad Corn. We didn’t like it at first because the flavor is quite strong and somewhat overwhelms the corn taste that makes this product so special. But we grew to enjoy it, as the empty bag will testify.

Add some Glad Corn to plain yogurt for a savory corn crunch. Shown with our favorite FAGE Total Greek yogurt.

If you’re looking for something special for your Super Bowl party or for game nights in general, Glad Corn goes great with beer—and you can buy it in bulk (which we don’t say tongue in cheek, since if there’s any left, partygoers will want to take some home).

People will love the crunchiness, the real corn flavor, and the intrinsic goodness of Glad Corn. It took us a long time to write this review because we couldn’t stop eating the corn. It’s still made on the Friesen farm...although, Gladys is happy to report, not in the kitchen.

— Karen Hochman


FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to anyone who loves popcorn, corn chips and crunchy snacks in general.


Original, Bar-B-Q, Gourmet Cheddar, Jalapeño

  • 4-Ounce Bags (Snack Size)
    6 Bags, $15.00
    12 Bags, $21.00
    24 Bags, $34.00
    60 Bags, $44.00
  • 12-Ounce Bags
    2 Bags, $15.00
    4 Bags, $19.00
    8 Bags, $32.00
  • Prices include shipping. Other options
    available including salt-free and bulk.

Glad Corn
Not just “Original” flavor, but a truly original

To purchase, visit or telephone 1.800.692.6762.

Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.

Books For Snack lovers

1001 Snacks Grazing Story of Corn
1001 Snacks: For Instant Gratification, by Gregg R. Gillespie. From midnight snacks to nibbles at dawn, this guide to non-stop munching is a valuable tool for devotees of the art of snacking. Click here for more information.
Grazing: Portable Snacks and Finger Foods for Anytime, Anywhere, by Julie Van Rosendaal. Great recipes for easy-to-prepare, portable, good-for-you and delicious food that you can eat with your fingers. Click here for more information.
The Story of Corn, by Betty Fussell. Learn everything there is to know about corn, including its importance as a fertility symbol, a food staple and genetic marvel. Click here for more information.

ESPECIALLY for corn-lovers

Corn Dishes popcorn
Majolica Corn Dishes. You can set out Glad Corn in these traditional corn-on-the-cob dishes, that will also hold fresh corn in the summer. Click here for more information.
Cuisinart PartyPop Popcorn Maker. When we can't get our hands on a bag of Glad Corn, the next best thing is a hot bowl of freshly popped popcorn. Click here for more information.


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