CORN

It is hard to imagine life without corn, especially now that it is used not only as a food source (tortilla chips and succulent corn on the cob throughout summer months etc.) but also in ethanol, and disposable silverware etc. However we are reminded in The Cultural History of Plants that corn was not always a global food source.  This passage from Prance and Nesbitt’s extensive plant origination guide details the history of corn, and the journey it made to become a global product: “The earliest domesticated corn cobs have been found at archaeological sites in the Tehuacan and Oaxaca valleys of southern Mexico, dating to 6000 to 5000 C years ago.  Similar cobs are found on a primitive form of popcorn cultivated today on a small scale in Argentina.  With its small cobs and branched stems, this variety is intermediate in appearance between teosinte (the only ancestor of modern corn) and modern corn.  By about 3000 years ago corn had spread from Mexico with early farmers, south to the Andes and north to eastern North America.  Corn arrived in Europe and Asia after Columbus reached the Americas in 1492, and spread rapidly.  Although many claims have been made for pre-Columbian dispersal of corn in the Old World, these are firmly contradicted by the complete absence of corn in the Old World archaeological record before 1492” (54).

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2 Responses to CORN

  1. Pingback: Interesting posts | Just Food Now "News and Views"

  2. Pingback: Interesting Posts Lately « Massachusetts Renaissance Center Vegetable Garden Project

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