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Corn and Brazilian Street Venders


Above, double click to enlarge the photo of this image of a circa 1640 sugar plantation in Pernambuco, Brazil and enslaved African. Below have some Brazilian milho verde (green corn) from a street vender (photo of the corn courtesy of http://listof101.blogspot.com/) recipes below 
Lets continue are series on street venders today with a discussion of Brazilian foodways. Brazil is a country in which corn is pervasive throughout the cuisine and it's been that way dating back to the precolonial period, the arrival of the Portuguese, and the start of the African slave trade.  The Portuguese imported large numbers of Africans to Brazil to work principally in the sugar and mining industries but also as domestic servants.  Slaves received corn as part of their rations. When they had the time and space, enslaved Africans cultivated subsistence gardens which they ate from and used to earn capital. Like allot of other street foods sold in slave societies, African entrepreneurs in Brazil most likely started selling corn grown in their gardens and grilled to a sweet perfection on street carts they made and rigged with grills. On Sundays especially, their day off, one saw Africans street venders selling milho verde (green corn) in heavily trafficked pedestrian sectors of urban centers. The only thing green about the corn was the husk it grows in. Thus over time, what started as slave rations became a popular street snack people of all complexions enjoyed and helped entrepreneurs gain capital, improve their lives, and purchase their freedom. 



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