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July 21, 2006



Oh yeah...I had the same revelation. I bit into my fried polenta and thought - "Those cheatin' hoes! This is mush! Italian, my foot!" Of course I found out that polenta really WAS peasant food from Italy. It would be interesting to find out what mush's pedigree is - did it come from Italian immigrants or is it just hard to keep a good thing from being discovered by another group of folks?


To me, the thing that makes polenta great is the long cooking process that makes it creamier and creamier. And the butter and parmesan cheese they add certainly helps too. I love grits and polenta. Nice post.


Rosie--I don't know about polenta but I remember reading somewhere about the history of grits. If I can find it, I'll let you know.

Sher--I agree. They are very similar but they are also different and polenta is finer and more creamy. Just another texture to play with!


I couldn't help myself. I was too curious about the origins of corn meal mush too. Don't know about the Europeans but apparantly cornmeal, along with most of the things we take for granted as "southern" food were brought over from Africa. Wild, huh? I got this quote from www.slaveryinamerica.org



Dang it! It wouldn't quote it. What it said was that several foods were brought over from Africa on the slave ships that become integral components of southern cuisine. Some of the foods were: corn meal for mush and bread, okra, melons, sorghum, kidney and lima beans, black-eyed peas, etc.


Glenna, your source is right about the sorghum, okra and very possibly/probably the black-eyed peas, but not the corn or beans. Corn (any and all corn) is a native American grain and so are all the "kidney" type beans including limas. Along, of course with tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and chiles.

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