So I know something about freeze-drying, and about what it is good for.
To the ever-growing list of things I have learned from my wonderful alumni, we can add this: I just learned freeze-dried corn meal is a thing, that I have probably had it, and that it is not good.
|Mexican food guru Diana Kennedy is not a fan.|
Image by Eleanor Skrzat for Taste.
I thought I had no illusions about industrial-scale cornmeal, but I was wrong. What is in those boxes and bags looks like cornmeal, but it really is not. I am now even more grateful that the traditional method does still exist in some places, and that one of those places is the home of the host family I visit every January in Nicaragua. Doña Elsa enjoys teaching my students and me how to form and cook tortillas, which she does by the dozen every morning without any utensils. Just as described in Dunn's article, she is using corn grown on her own property and ground in a communal stone mill at a neighboring house. This imparts one thing that Dunn's article does not mention: minerals from the grinding stones, now missing from the diets of millions in Latin America.
|A real tortilla in my home-away-from-home in Nicaragua!|
All of these articles point to something I find missing from almost all discussions of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), which tend to focus on food safety. As important as that is, the biggest threat posed by GMOs is that they accelerate the narrowing of the genetic diversity of our food supply.
Fortunately, Dunn's article points to some efforts to recover some of the diversity of maize. Unfortunately, for those who are not going to grow and process corn at home, the alternatives are so far limited to high-end grocery stores. Perhaps a way can be found to get real cornmeal back into neighborhood bodegas and restaurants.
|Doing some minimal processing of corn for my beloved's birthday party.|
Not exactly news, but rather a connection I have only today made. Readers in New England can find real chips from Mi Nińa Tortilla in Newton, Massachusetts.
The company has been making Aztec-style tortillas from real corn since 2011. I just enjoyed some of these chips with guacamole from a brand new local company.