Lannae's Food and Travel

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September 30, 2007

Ground Corn, now what?

I went to the Wilson County Fair this year. Wilson Co is a neighboring county that is in transition from being a traditional rural county, to one with mixed heavy 'burb and rural. It is feeling some growning pains, but the Wilson County Fair is still true to form. There are all the contests like the best BBQ, best chili, best quilt, best photo, best basket, best garment, best honey, best produce, etc. There are the animals. Look at the pretty peacock above!

There is also one more thing... Fresh Corn Meal! Here is the machine that grinds the dried corn and separates the corn hull from the inside. It was a great invention. Inside the wood box is a stationary stone, and one rotating stone that breaks open each kernel and dumps the bits of hull and crushed corn into the hopper. The rotating stone is turned by the drive belt seen on the right of the photo The hopper separates the corn from the tough hull by sifting the small corn bits into a bagger, and the light fluffy hull stays on top.

The guy Fred Corley, who was showing off his equipment, was saying that he rehab-ed his grandfathers equipment. He put a new wood casing on the grind stones, but the stones are the original real deal. He changed out the drive belt from being horse driven to being motor driven. Other than that, the equipment looks as it looked over 100 years ago. He happened to have found the equipment in his father's garage. Fred's father used it a long time ago, but it had not been running for years. Fred was having so much fun sharing his family history and his family's long time tradition of corn grinding. He was just beaming when he was showing us the equipment, and talking about each original cast iron part. Fred has been "bitten" by the old world traditions, and he loves the old way of getting corn meal, and he loves that it is his family's equipment that grinds the corn. I asked him if his kids are going to carry on with this equipment when he gets old. He said his kids are not interested right now. My wish for his family is that one day, when he is older and has grandkids of his own, one of his kids comes buy and sees the equipment in Fred's garage, and then follow the family tradition of ground corn. Listening to the guy was certainly the highlight of my trip to the Wilson County Fair! So, I bought 3 lbs of this golden product right out of the hopper. I have put it in my fridge as I want to be able to keep this stuff and cook with it all fall.

I am home with my ground corn, and I want to do well with it. I have never had fresh ground corn before. What do I do with it? Anyone? Help! I am from first L.A. CA, then Boston, MA, 2 places with no tradition of ground corn. I want to learn the traditions of this ultimate local food!

My simplistic questions are:
What is this called? Ground corn, corn meal, masa, polenta, grits?
What can I make besides corn bread? Grits, polenta? Is that possible?
Do you have any recipes?
Can I use this in corn pudding?

Please help me! Thanks everyone!

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4 Comments:

At 9/30/07, 6:57 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Oh, I wish I had some of that stuff. Lucky you.
I would probably just call it stone-ground cornmeal, although polenta is a perfectly good name too.
My own way of cooking it is to make cornmeal mush (we use the teeny slow cooker, and it does take a while -- couple of hours... we put the meal and the water -- three parts water to one part meal, plus salt -- in there overnight to soften, and then turn it on as soon as we wake up). When it's tender, we stir in grated cheese and chopped jalapenos. Seriously, this is breakfast.

 
At 10/1/07, 4:48 AM, Blogger katiez said...

Stone ground cornmeal... sounds wonderful, should be fun to play with, sorry, I'm of no help. I'd have to see it - and then I'd be guessing and playing, but, hey, that's half the fun!
I'll be watching this site for great 'corny' things!

 
At 10/1/07, 5:58 PM, Blogger Lannae said...

Thanks Cookie, I will have to try the cheesy and spicy breakfast! I love cheesy grits, and I think I would love your dish. Your breakfast would make any southwesterner proud!

Hi KZ, I am afraid to waste one drop of this ground cornmeal by making a bad dish I don't want to eat. I only have 3 lbs of it, and that isn't very much to last all winter. I am going to wait and see what other recipes people have for me to try.

 
At 10/6/07, 1:43 PM, Blogger Lannae said...

Looks like I only got one recipe from Cookiecrumb. So, breakfast it is!

 

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