Or is it more properly ‘a-maizing’?
Either way, a few pictorial highlights – and a recipe – for a Wicked Wayback Wednesday from a talk I gave on a dark and stormy night for the South Shore Locavores.
The audience was all ears!
In a nutshell –
Corn has been around for thousands of years in the America, in Europe not so long. In the 16th century maize was new and fashionable, but since it was easy to grow, and grow well, it became more and more common and less and less fashionable…..case in point – polenta.
Murillo – the Polenta Woman -17th century – notice how she’s not fashionable
Pietro Longhi – Polenta – notice that it’s being pored onto a cloth, from which it will be eaten. This is the 18th century when ‘The Poor’ become romanticized. Their romantic image is fashionable, not the poor actual selves .
In Made in Italy Giorgio Locatelli describe making polenta that is right out of the 18th century painting. He also writes of the irony of cooking the food his family ate to stay warm and fed in Italy in a high end restaurant in London for people to pay a pretty penny to try. Polenta is now fashionable!
Click here for the recipe of Polenta in Chains – Polenta with Beans and kale and spinach that I brought. It’s from Michele Scicolone The Italian Slow Cooker
Polenta in Chains bears an uncanny resemblance to 17th century English pottage, which was made with maize instead of oats when Englishmen came to North America, changing things to keep them the same.
Esau and Jacob Mathias Stom, 1640’s. That’s a Mess of Pottage in the bowl. The bread is pretty great, too.
Almost all the pottage in 17th century images include Jacob and Esau
A re-created 17th century English Pottage by Elizabeth Pickard