To cut kernels from the cob, uncooked or cooked, hold the ear of corn by its pointed end and steady its stalk end on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice straight down between the kernels and the cob, but not too deeply, to avoid the kernels’ fibrous bases. Alternatively, use a specially designed kernel cutter to strip off the kernels.
If you want the corn milk for a recipe, place the cob’s flat end in a shallow bowl as you cut. After removing the kernels, run the back of the knife blade along the length of the ear to squeeze the milk into the bowl.
To get creamed corn or just the corn pulp and not the kernels, first score the individual rows of kernels by running the tip of your knife down each row. Then, standing the ear on one end, run a spoon or the back of a knife blade along the kernels with enough pressure to express the milk and pulp but leave the skin behind.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Companion (Time-Life Books, 2000).