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You Can Get Life's Blessings

By Jan Butel  January 10, 2023

Did you know that the Ancients in Old Mexico believed that eating corn gave one "life's blessings"?  Those Ancient Mexicans are the ones that cultivated and developed corn as we know it today.

The history goes that after the asteroid hit the earth, the surrounding  area where it hit--somewhere between Mexico City and Atlanta, Ga. went into total darkness for a period of time.  When  this area of the earth began coming out of total darkness--the original settlers in Mexico noted that the sprouts of a new and different plant  were coming up.  It resembled the leaf of rice which they were used to from their native Asian background.  With cultivation, the earliest corn developed.

These Ancients began working with the small plants to develop bigger and better ears and plants.  The original corn was white and would get stale and mildew in a few years.  Believing in numerology,  and that only every 7 years would they have a good crop; the Ancients determined they had to find a good storage method.   That led to the storage of  the ears of corn or just the kernels in the limestone caves of southern Mexico--the corn stayed fresh.  What was happening was the earliest development of posole or corn treated with a bit of lime.

They then started taking the limestone, which they ground  to surrounding areas and the area for taking the ground lime spread to most all of Mexico south of the meridian of  what would become Mexico City, ..the area farthest away from where the limestone caves were.

Lacking the limestone, the northern population of Mexico through experimentation discovered a different method for preserving the corn.  They burned the native pinon tree wood, which would burn down to a complete and total ash, which was very clean and total--not leaving any messy charcoal. 

This led to their smoking the corn kernels in the pinon ash, which in turn led to the development  of  blue corn.  The darkly pigmented corn was just fine from the ash treatment, however the white corn always looked dirty.   The alkaline residue left from smoking the blue corn led to the creation of a different kind or type of posole.  To this day, the blue corn is quite different than  white or yellow corn.  The blue corn was developed by the Ancients, whose relatives still populate the Aijadas and Pueblos of Northern Mexico and New Mexico.

They were so thrilled with the beneficent properties of the blue corn--they deified it and each Pueblo to this day has its own variety.  Due to this religious significance, there has been little reason to cultivate the blue corn for larger crops as it was only used for religious ceremonies.  This is the reason blue corn has much more cellulosic coating, less starch and is more difficult to grind or cook as it takes longer.   And, interestingly enough, blue corn is the only known food that is 100% nutrition.  White and yellow corn have all of the same nutrition except they are missing lysine, an  essential amino acid.  They contain lysine, but the human stomach can not "read it".   This probably explains why  blue corn is so revered and  how the Ancient Anasazis survived and prospered.  (Some historians credit the Anasazis with being the New York City of their universe  and having huge granaries where  they would trade their blue corn  for various items.  The headquarters for the Anasazi was in northeastern New Mexico, to the west of Albuqurque, NM in Chaco canyon. 

If you would like to try both the white and blue corn to check out the differences, we now have available  a generous supply of both.

In Mexico, Posole is their Chicken Noodle  soup and is served for both  holidays and to get to feeling better.  Posole is served  more deliciously  than  generally found in New Mexico.   The Mexicans braise their meats and simmer water in the brownies from braising and add it to the simmering posole.  Then it is served with garni--see  above photo and the following  recipe.  

We are starting  offering our classes again,  starting this Thursday at 5 PM where we have very few openings for our popular Take a Tortila and.... The next class is our Taco Party, offered a week from today on the  next Tuesday, January ,  17 at 5 PM followed by our ever  popular Chile and Chocolate class on January 26 at 5 PM.

Our next weekend class is a sweetheart class , close to  Valentine's Day.  For this we are offering a 2 day special of $100.00  off per person.

It is set for February 10 - 12 and our next week long class is April 24 - 26.

Here's my favorite Posole recipe--

POSOLE

You may serve this either as a side dish or main dish. I like to layer toppings such as fresh shredded cabbage, fresh lime wedges, avocado cubes and cilantro sprigs.

Yield: 15 to 16 servings

1 pound dried posole

1 quart water, or more

2 pounds pork, steak or roast, cut into ½” cubes

1 Tablespoon salt or to taste

2 garlic cloves, minced

pinch of Mexican oregano

1 Tablespoon cumin, or to taste

¼ cup caribe chile or to taste

       1. Simmer the posole in unseasoned water until it becomes soft and the kernels have burst open; it usually requires 1-1/2 to 2 hours.  Stir occasionally  and make sure the water level is at least an inch tabovehe kernels. 

       2. Brown the pork cubes in a cold, well-seasoned frying pan; adding no fat or oil to the pan. Saute until very browned, then add to the posole. Deglaze the frying pan with 1 cup water, stirring to loosen the brownies sticking to the pan. Also add this liquid to the posole.

       3. Add remaining ingredients, using one-half the cumin and cook the stew for 1 or more hours, to blend the flavors. Just before serving, add the remaining half of cumin. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Ideally, this dish should be started the morning before it is to be served, to allow the flavors to develop.

Notes: In Old Mexico the following toppings are often served and posole is a main dish:

2 cups thinly shredded fresh cabbage

2 limes, cut into wedges

1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into cubes

1 bunch cilantro sprigs

In Mexico, posole is often spelled with a instead of an s.

This recipe reprinted with permission from Jane Butel's Chili Madness, 2nd edition.

 

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