Literary Corner

Two books, two quotes, re two posts on maize domestication and maize preferences.

I quite imagine that huitlacoche, the corn fungus, may have been the ambrosia of the Aztec gods. I never find it quite enough to eat quesadillas filled with them, so every summer that I am in Mexico I go to the Bola Roja in Puebla to eat a large plateful of the fungus served with strips of creamy white cheese and lots of hot tortillas.

The word is derived from the Nahuatl words huitlatl, meaning “excrement,” or “excrescence,” and cochtli or cochin, of uncertain etymology, although, according to Sahagún, it may be connected in some way to the verb coch, which means “to sleep”.

“The cuisines of Mexico” (Diana Kennedy)

Three truths keep bubbling to the surface in a search for a good piece of corn bread.

Southerners like their corn bread thin — about one inch deep in the pan. they want it made with white cornmeal. White looks pure.

The North likes a thick corn bread — sometimes three to four inches deep in the pan — and made with yellow cornmeal. Yellow looks rich.

Few Europeans care for corn in any form. They consider it a “gross food.”

“The Complete Book of Breads” (Bernard Clayton Jr)

A week ago I asked a random sample (of two), 50% northern and 50% southern, and they were in total agreement with the first two truths. The third “truth” is patently not true, but no matter.

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