April 25th, 2008

ozarque figure

Book UnReview; The Cornbread Gospels; note from the author...

I've had a message from Crescent Dragonwagon that she's asked me to pass along to you. As follows:

"When the cornbread is made from masa, not cornmeal --- in other words, when the ph is changed from acid to alkaline via that ancient Native American technology known as 'nixtamalization', it changes the corn's nutritional profile. It no longer blocks the absorption of niacin or lysine (the amino acid that is the protein building block which is non-nixtamalized corn's achille's heel) . Thus, it no longer causes pellagra!!! This, not just the Three Sisters, is why Native Americans never suffered from pellagra.

This is the kind of cornmeal used in tortillas and tamales and hominy/posole... When the colonists/occupiers from Europe arrived in America, they relied on corn for sustenance, but were so dismissive of First Peoples that they completely blew off the technology, with tragic consequences for the parts of America and the world, and the social classes, who came to rely on corn as a staple. This would include slaves, poor whites, poor blacks post-civil war, poor residents of many swathes of Africa, Italy, and Romania...

Plus, while I'm here, there's a video that goes with the Macaw Muffins recipe in The Cornbread Gospels. It's at YouTube, search terms 'Cornbread Flutters Ball.' The music is performed and sung by my old friend Bill Haymes, who lived in Arkansas for many years but is now in Nashville."

Postscript from me: There's a Wikipedia article on nixtamalization at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixtamalization .