Monday, November 15, 2010


Unlike the marketing hype that tells you to get up early on Nov. 26 to shop-shop-shop ‘til you drop, I think it’s worth you’re listening to the sound of a different drum. Yes, Nov. 26 is one of our American heritage days. It’s National Maize Day. On this day we celebrate the central role of corn in the Americas and what it has meant to Native Americans and for all the rest who came under a variety of historical circumstances - and now make up the population of North and South America.

On this day we can invite our families and friends to gather and feast on the one irreplaceable food that has sustained Americans throughout the ages – the ear of corn and corn in all its many forms. It’s also vastly important throughout the world being produced and used globally. Unarguably, it’s among the most important crops for the entire human race.

So, I invite you to reject commercialism and use your time on Nov. 26 to commemorate corn and the Native Americans, who developed and have kept this noble grain for us throughout the ages.

We can use National Maize Day to remember just how sweet and delicious corn is. Luckily, this holiday occurs on a day when many people in the U.S. don’t have to go to work, so that gives us time to celebrate by cooking up one or more corn-based dishes. So, make plans now to include some corn in your menu for Nov. 26. - from corn on the cob to cornbread to corn casserole to tacos in corn taco-shells. Enjoy this worthwhile American heritage day and be sure to read a bit of corn history and share it with your friends and family.

In honor of National Maize Day, I’m sharing with you one of my favorite cornbread recipes (that I’ll be proud to bake up on Nov. 26):

1 and 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 TBS. minced cilantro
1 tsp. minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)
1 or 2 tsp. minced jalapeno peppers (or 1 TBS. mild red pepper sauce)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk (or buttermilk)
(Optional: Add 3 TBS. grated cheddar cheese to the mix and cut back to ¼ cup of oil.)

Take out a muffin pan – well greased or filled with muffin-sized baking cups.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add egg, milk and beat together. Then pour in the oil and stir well.

Spoon the batter into the muffin pan and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes about a dozen, good-sized muffins.

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