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Native American Foodways: Corn

Corn pudding, this and other recipes below (image from http://bakeoff-flunkie.blogspot.com)

Today let's talk about the second of the gastronomical trinity of Native Americans—maize or corn. It is from the Arawak, one of three Amerindian groups to inhabit the Caribbean, that the word mahiz comes from which the Spanish derived the term maize for corn.  Corn represented the staple grain that Amerindians across the continent cooked with. They used it in a variety of ways including preparing corn breads, popped corn, puddings, dumplings, porridges, stews, and drinks--some of them alcoholic and some nonalcoholic.  Native Americans also processed corn (which comes in so many different sizes and colors) by adding ash to make hominies, grinding it into a meal, eating it green, fresh, parched, boiled, baked, steamed, and roasted. In the southwestern regions of North America and throughout most of Mesoamerica and parts of South America Native Americans used grinding stones to produce tortillas. Across the Americas they taught the first Europeans who arrived on the continent how to grow and prepare corn and survive. Most of these early arrivals from Europe came from the ranks of elites who knew little to nothing about farming and cooking. During the Atlantic slave trade and explorations further East, Europeans introduced corn to Asia and Africa.  Today one would be hard pressed to find a packaged food in most parts of the world that doesn't contain a corn based oil or sweetener.  Below you will find a links to some corn history and recipes including corn pudding pictured above. I'm also sharing a link to a series I did earlier on corn. Tomorrow I will have more on this American plant.

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