Eating Dent Flint Popcorn and Indian Corn

You could be in terrible shape for money and still make it if you had some dried com. Your shoes might get holes; you could stuff cornhusks in the bottoms. You could shell off the com and bum the cobs for warmth. And you could eat the com with water if you don't have anything else. The exact recipe you make depends on how much water you add. If you add just a little water to your commeal, you make a kind of com bread. If you add somewhat more, you've got cornmeal gruel. For variety you could make hominy from wood ashes, water, and com; but if you've truly got a food shortage, don't do that because you lose some nutritional value. If you have some fat of any sort, you have shortening to add to your bread. Some dried fruit, honey, or maple syrup gives you an Indian pudding. Add beans and you've got succotash. Add meat and you have a stew. You can tell I'm a com lover!

^ COOKING WHOLE, DRIED, SHELLED CORN KERNELS

Pour boiling water over the kernels. Let soak overnight. Then cook on low heat 4 to 5 hours. Parched Corn: Parched com looks like the inside part popped or expanded inside the tough hide of the kernel. Each kernel will about double in size when parched. Sue Windover, Holland, MI, wrote me, "During World War II, my great-aunt and uncle ran a small gas station in Fryan, Ohio. They were unable to buy peanuts for their nut dispenser. So my aunt made parched corn to use instead. It was so popular, they continued even after peanuts were again available." Ruth Kellogg, Elk City, ID, wrote me that parched com was a trail food to native

Americans and trail blazers of the old West. The following recipes combine their pieces of advice. For each of them, start with field-dried ears of com. Husk and then pry off the kernels. Don't cut, because you want the kernels intact.

OVEN-PARCHING Put kernels in a hot oven in one layer on a cookie sheet stirring until they are brown and crunchy. After they are baked, add just enough oil so some salt will stick (Without the oil, the parched corn will keep forever, if you could keep people from eating it1)

<i> FRY-PARCHING Heat about 2 t. lard in a covered heavy pot Pour in a handful of corn kernels. Cook over mediumhigh heat covered. When the popping is completed, drain on a towel. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

<P> CRISPY CORN Moisten A c. cornmeal in 'A c. cool water. Add I t salt to 2 A c. of boiling water. Now gradually stir the cornmeal mix into the hot water. Cook over medium heat constantly stirring, until thick Now shift to very low heat cover the mush, and cook another half hour, stirring once in a while. In the meantime, prepare drying trays by covering them with plastic. After the cornmeal is cooked, drop it onto the covered tray, a dollop (scant teaspoonful) at a time. Spread each crisp dollop out quite thin (press with back of a spoon that has been dipped in water). Don't let one crisp touch another. Place in hot sunshine to dry. After about 6 hours, you can peel away the plastic. Turn each crisp upside down and set directly on the tray Continue drying until fully dry and brittle. To dry these in an oven or mechanical dryer, heat at 150'F. Cornmeal and Water Breads

^ HOECAKES These are also called pone, flatbread, or Johnnycakes. Moisten 2 c. cornmeal with V2 c. cool water. Heat 2 c. salted-to-taste water to boiling. Add about 3 T. shortening to the water (if you have it and want to use it). Combine the cornmeal and boiling water, stirring constantly Let stand, covered, until it cools down enough to work with. Now form into your shapes for cooking. Lay your dozen or so hoecakes on a greased pan to bake. There's a specially shaped iron baking pan that you can buy to bake these in, or you can bake them in a greased iron frying pan. Takes a little over half an hour in a 350' F oven. It takes some work to eat because it isn't flabby soft (It helps to serve with melted butter or hot gravy poured over.)

& CORN DODGERS Make salted cornmeal and water dough as above. Wrap a sizable chunk in wet cornhusks. Press into a flat form. The pioneers baked these in the hot coals and ashes, but you can do it in an oven. Cornmeal Breads

These have more ingredients than just commeal and water, and they are even better tasting and more nourishing for you.

CORNMEAL WAFFLES Pour IA c. boiling water over I c. commeal. Add !4 c. melted butter. Stir in IA c. buttermilk Separate 2 eggs and stir in the yolks. Sift I c. flour with I 'A t baking soda and A t salt Blend dry ingredients with cornmeal mixture. Beat the 2 egg whites you have waiting and fold them into batter. Bake in your waffle iron until crisp and brown. Very light

CORN/WHEAT BREAD Combine I c. commeal, I c. home-ground (or whole) wheat flour, A t salt and I T. bak ing powder in a bowl. In another bowl stir together I egg, Vi c. honey, and I c. milk. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and stir together. Add 2 T. melted butter (or lard). (Betty Gehrke, Montesano, WA, wrote me, "I didn't add the melted butter and they were real good anyway. Makes me wonder what the fat in a recipe does but add calories.") Stir a moment more, but don't overstir, because you don't want to stir your bubbles out Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 425°F about 25 minutes.

ci> VEGAN CORN/WHEAT BREAD Another recipe from Ruth in Bonaire: Combine I c. cornmeal, I c. whole wheat flour, 3 t baking powder, and I t of cinnamon or At chili powder along with a pinch of oregano. Mix. Stir I T. honey into IA c. warm water. Now stir the honey ¡water mix into the dry ingredients until just mixed. Bake in a nonstick pan about 20 minutes at 375°F or so.

& CORN GEMS Maybe you've seen old-time cast-iron gem pans in your favorite hardware store, and maybe you've wondered what you're supposed to bake in those peculiarly shaped spaces. Well, here is an old-time corn gem recipe. (If you don't have gem pans, just use a regular muffin pan!) Follow the Corn/Wheat Bread recipe above except use 2 eggs instead of one, and 2 t. baking powder instead of I T. Preheat your gem pans, grease them, and pour in the batter. The muffins will take about 15 minutes to bake in a 400°F oven. You can make oatmeal and whole wheat gems, too.

W> SOUTHERN SPOON BREAD Mrs. Donald E. Woodliff, Petersburg, TN, who likes to grind her own cornmeal, wrote me, "One of our favorite recipes is this one for Southern Spoon Bread. Scald 2 c. milk Add A2 c. cornmeal. Cook together until thick Add I t. salt A t baking powder, 2 T. sugar, and 2 T. melted butter. Beat the yolks of 3 separated eggs and add to cornmeal mixture. Let it cool a few minutes while you are beating the 3 egg whites to soft peaks, and then fold the beaten egg whites into your batter. Pour into a well-buttered I Aiqt. casserole. Bake at 375°F 30-45 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed like a souffle. A refreshing substitute for either a bread or vegetable."

W> REAL SOUTHERN HUSH PUPPIES WITH WHITE CORNMEAL Mrs. Phil R. Cahoon, Citrus Heights, CA, wrote me, "Hush puppies are a bread all true Southerners eat with fish. First you fry a big mess of fish. (A 'mess' means enough to feed everyone that's there and any more that may show up.) Fry fish dipped in cornmeal in deep fat then drain. Hush puppies are always, I must repeat always, fried in the fish grease, after the fish; otherwise you would just have fried corn bread. Make as many as you have people, but the recipe should serve 5 or 6 people.

Combine 2 c. white cornmeal, A c. flour, A t. salt, A t. soda, A21. baking powder, I c. chopped onion, and I egg in a bowl. Add enough buttermilk to make a batter, not too thin!

Drop by tablespoonfuls in the hot fish grease. The hush puppies will be a golden brown when done. Turn as needed to brown evenly."

Another friend wrote me, "Those things are best thrown to the dogs to get them to shut up ... 'Hush Puppies!'"

W> NO-FISH HUSH PUPPIES Mrs. Edna Chavez, Cypress, CA, wrote me about a goof in one of my cracker recipes and sent me this one while she was at it. "Some people think you must have fish with hush puppies, but I make them for after-school snacks: I c. cornmeal, I c. flour, a dash of salt A t. soda, and I egg. Add as much chopped onion as you like. We like lots. Mix all together with enough milk to make a very stiff dough. Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil. Fry on one side. Turn to brown the other side, then drain. They taste a lot like onion rings. We love them." Using Leftover Corn Bread W> SOUR MILK CORN BREAD PUDDING Crumble I c. (more or less) of dried corn bread crumbs. Soak them in 2 c. sour milk for about a half hour. Add I beaten egg, A2 c. raisins, A t. soda, and A t. cinnamon, and bake at 325°F until it begins to set. Then spread 4 T. molasses over the top and bake until a firm crust has formed.

W> PUDDING FROM LEFTOVER CORN BREAD Crumble enough leftover corn bread to measure I cup. Add 2 c. milk and 2 egg yolks. Gently fold in 2 beaten egg whites. Bake slowly in a dish set in a pan of hot water for about I hour. Optionally, sweeten with molasses or sugar. Or add currants or raisins.

ci> CORN BREAD STUFFING Combine 4 c. crumbled corn bread with 4 c. crumbled white bread (or brown), I medium onion, chopped, I t sage or poultry dressing, salt and pepper to taste, and the broth from your cooked giblets. Moisten with more broth or milk as needed. This is enough stuffing for a 10-lb. turkey. If you are stuffing a chicken, cut the recipe in half cornmeal Mush: The easiest way to make cornmeal mush is to mix your cornmeal with enough cold water to thoroughly moisten it, and then add it to boiling water a bit at a time, stirring constantly. Or if you have a very quick arm, you could just sprinkle the cornmeal, stirring constantly, into rapidly boiling water. If you don't get it mixed very fast, it has a tendency to lump. Salt to taste. It will cook in half the time over direct heat, but you'll have to be careful to prevent scorching or sticking, so if you have time, make it in a double boiler. Figure 30 minutes over direct heat or 1 hour in the double boiler. (The exact amount of time will be unique for your particular variety of corn and grind of cornmeal.) You can hurry it some by soaking it overnight. The same applies to grits and hominy. Cook them in the same water in which they were soaked. About 3 c. water should be right for each V2 c. cornmeal; that includes the cold water you use to moisten it. Mush is done when the spoon can stand up straight by itself. Don't be afraid to make a lot of cornmeal mush because there are good uses for the leftovers.

& ITALIAN POLENTA Cook your cornmeal in chicken broth. Serve with butter and grated cheese on top and meat on the side.

ci> WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER CORNMEAL MUSH If you are going to make fried mush, just be sure to get your leftover cornmeal mush poured into another pan before it gets cold. It has to be still hot to pour right into the loaf pan. Smooth the surface after pouring. Use a pan of such size that the mush will be about 2 inches deep. Optionally, break up your leftover bacon and add it to the leftover corn mush before pouring it into a pan to set. Let cool until firm. When you are ready to fry your mush (for breakfast the next morning maybe, or for lunch the next day), turn the cornmeal out of the mold or cut 3A-inch slices and lift them out. Then follow one of these recipes!

CLASSIC FRIED LEFTOVER CORNMEAL MUSH Fry your slices in a little oil as is — first one side, then the other. Or first roll them in flour until dry, and then fry. Or roll in flour and then beaten egg, or in egg and then crumbs, or in flour and then egg and then crumbs! And then fry. Fry in some oil or butter over a medium-to-hot heat turning once, just long enough to heat through and put a nice brown crust on the outside. Serve with syrup and butter.

W> SPOON-FRIED MUSH Owa Malone, Portland, OR, wrote me about a recipe failure. (I am so glad when someone writes to tell me a recipe is bad. That way I can fix it in the next edition!) She also said, "I wanted to share with you my Missouri mother's way of making fried mush. She cooked it the same as any mush, but instead of chilling, molding, and slicing for frying, she just dropped large spoonfuls of the fresh mush into hot fat and fried it until brown and crisp."

ci> FRIED MUSH AND BACON Fry your bacon until done. Remove it from pan, but put it someplace where it will keep warm. Dip your cold cornmeal mush slices into flour, egg, and crumbs. Fry in the hot bacon fat until brown and crisp on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper or cloth and serve with the bacon.

CREAMY LEFTOVER MUSH Slice the set mush into slices I inch thick, then make cubes about I inch square. Put the cubes into cereal bowls. Pour hot rich milk or cream over the cubes. Let the dishes stand in a warm place (like your warming oven—or the microwave) until the cornmeal is heated through; then serve. Or slice the cold cornmeal mush thin, brush each slice with thick sweet cream, and brown in a medium oven until heated through.

W> VEGAN LEFTOVER MUSH Use above recipe, but substitute applesauce for the milk or cream. My editor says I've got too many cornmeal mush recipes. Is she right? Maybe other people just don't relate to cornmeal mush as positively as I do ... I stubbornly left them all in. Well, here's something more highly developed of the cornmeal sort...

<i> POLENTA PIZZA From Ruth of Bonaire. "Combine I c. cornmeal, I c. cold water, and I t salt. Stir that mix vigorously into 2 c. boiling water and keep stirring as it cooks (about 5 minutes) till thick Remove from heat Add 'A c. grated parmesan cheese. Then take a spoonful of it out beat that with I egg, and then beat it back into the cornmeal for I minute. Let stand to cool. Then use wet hands and spatula to press into a thick crust in a buttered 9-inch pie plate. Now let it stand several hours to get fairly dry. Then bake for 45 minutes at 350°F. (Brush with oil after 30 minutes of baking.) For topping, saute Vi c. each minced green pepper and onion and season it with oregano and black pepper. Sprinkle I c. grated cheese onto your hot baked cornmeal crust Spread pepper and onion over this. Arrange a sliced tomato over that Top with another Ai c. grated cheese. Broil until bubbly. Serve immediately." Corn Puddings

& OLD-TIME MOLASSES OR INDIAN" PUDDING Heat 2 c. milk in the top of a double boiler. Pour 'A c. cornmeal into Ai c. cold milk and stir until mixed. Then add the mixture of cornmeal and cold milk gradually to the hot milk, stirring constantly. Cook 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add 2 T. butter, Ai c. molasses, cinnamon, and ginger to taste. Add another I Vi c. milk. Pour into baking dish and bake in a slow (250'F) oven about 3 hours.

VEGAN RAISIN/RICE CORN PUDDING Combine I c. cornmeal and Vi c. (cold) cooked rice. Soak A c. raisins in boiling water; then drain and chop. Add to cornmeal with 2 c. boiling water (or less) and I Vi rounded t baking powder. Bake in ungreased dish at 350"F until center is firm. Cooking with Corn Flour: Corn grain ground to a flour consistency is "cornstarch." It's useful for thickening gravies and sauces same as you would with wheat flour. However, cornstarch, if overcooked, can thin out again. hominy: Flint corn, other field corns, Indian corn, and any hard corn will make hominy. You are ready to use a hominy recipe once you have dried and shelled your corn. Hominy-making time of year here is about October. Choose a soda, lye, or lime method. Lye cuts the outside husk best, but you have to do a lot more rinsing. If using lye, see the warnings and first aid treatments for lye burns under "Soap Making" in Chapter 8. Incidentally, you can make a sort of hominy from shelled wheat using these same recipes. No matter which recipe you decide to use, read the first one for general orientation, since it has a lot of hints I don't repeat afterwards.

Why bother making hominy? Well, if you have lots of good food, there's no need. But after corn traveled from the Americas to Europe and Africa and became standard fare for poor people, epidemics of pellagra, a disease caused by niacin deficiency, followed. The native Americans never got pellegra because they made part of their corn into hominy through an alkaline process that just happened to release the corn's niacin content in a way that regular cooking could not. (They also regularly combined corn with beans, not only growing but also eating them together. Beans supply the 2 nutritional elements missing in regular corn—tryptophan and niacin. In China, rice and soybeans are traditionally combined for the same result; in India, wheat and lentils, or wheat and split peas.)

By the way, if you like hominy and grits, you'd love the Good Old Grits Cookbook by Bill Neal and David Perry. It is a huge collection of lore and recipes—even how to get mailorder grits! Available from Eureka Resource, P.O. Box 53565, San Jose, CA 95153.

Boiled Soda Method Hominy. For each 2 gal. shelled corn, use V3 c. baking soda and 1 gal. water. Make sure you have enough liquid to cover your corn kernels with at least 2 inches over. Remember each grain will puff up to 3 or 4 times the dried size, so allow for expansion. Use a big pan like a 5-gal. granite (enamel ware) canner or an iron kettle. Don't use aluminum, copper, tin, or zinc. Optional: Let soak overnight before commencing to boil. Now boil corn heavily about 2 hours—until you can feel the hulls slip off when you pick up the corn in your fingers. While boiling, keep covered. Add more water if needed.

This is the ticklish thing: The hulls are too coarse to eat and have to come off, but when the hulls slip, there is nothing to protect the corn from the soda water. So drain the soda water off before the hulls come off so the soda won't leach out all the good stuff in the corn. Replace the soda water with fresh water. Now it increases in volume. Change the water at least one more time, more if you like. When the corn has doubled in bulk, wash it very hard in a continuous flow of water in a dishpan or colander, rubbing it with your hands to let out the hulls. (Beware of clogging the sink!) Don't worry about the black spot at the bottom of the kernel. It's just the end of the germ showing.

Pour fresh water over the corn and cook again. You could add salt and sweetening at this time, or wait to do that until serving time. Add salt to taste, and maybe 2 heaping tablespoons of sugar or honey for sweetening. Cook until you can comfortably chew the kernels. It will be done after about 4 hours of boiling. Cool. Drain. Freezing, Drying, or Canning Hominy. To freeze, now's the time. Just package and freeze. (To use frozen hominy, just thaw it in water; then drain off the water and continue by your favorite hominy recipe.) To dry hominy, drain thoroughly and follow directions for beans. To can, boil freshly made hominy until it is almost tender. To hot pack, pack into clean, hot pint jars only. (Not safe to can this in quart jars.) Add enough liquid from cooking to cover hominy, but leave 1 inch headspace. Optionally, add V21. salt. Put on lids. Pressure-can only, for 95 minutes. See the "Altitude Adjustments for Pressure Canning" table for the correct pressure; it's different depending on your altitude and the type of canner you're using.

Altitude Adjustments for Pressure Canning

Processing Pressure

Altitude

Dial Gauge

Weighted Gauge

Under 1,000 feet

111b.

101b.

1,001-2,000

111b.

151b.

2,001-4,000

121b.

151b.

4,001-6,000

131b.

151b.

6,001-8,000

141b.

151b.

8,001 or more

151b.

151b.

Other Ways to Make Hominy ci> UNBOILED SODA-METHOD HOMINY In a crock or a large good-quality plastic can, put corn to soak in soda water. Use 4 level T. baking soda per I gal. water. Keep covered in a cool place. Test every day to see if the hulls are ready to come off. They usually take more than a week. When the hulls are loosened, wash them away under plenty of running water. This hominy can be stored in a solution of I c. pickling salt per I gal. water until wanted. Then rinse and soak in fresh water, changing water several times.

^ LIME HOMINY Dissolve 2 heaping T. powdered lime in 4 qt water. Add 2 qt corn. Stir. Set on low heat. Cook until hulls loosen. Drain and rinse several times with cold water while rubbing hulls off. Rinse until water comes out clear and all lime is gone.

W> BOUGHTEN LYE HOMINY Dissolve 4 T. lye in 2 gal. cold water. (One level tablespoon lye equals Ai oz.) Keep your spoon dry! Add 2 qt corn and boil a half hour. Take off the heat and let the corn soak in the solution about another 20 minutes. Skim out the corn and commence rinsing and working to get the hulls off When the hulls are all off (and the dark kernel tips removed if you want), cover the hominy with fresh water and bring to a boil. Then change water and bring to a boil again, and so on at least 4 times. Then cook in a final water until the hominy is tender.

Recipes for Using Hominy

<i> PLAIN BUTTERED HOMINY Rinse and soak overnight in fresh water I c. or more of your hominy. Next day cover it with water, put a loose lid on the pan, and and boil it until all the water has evaporated. Stop before the hominy burns! Now stir in a little butter and serve. This is a traditional dish in South America, where corn and hominy came from.

<i> HOMINY, BACON, AND EGGS Mrs. H.J. dough of Long Beach, CA, is a hominy lover and sent me this recipe: Boil several cups of hominy until tender. Fry 4 slices of bacon per person. Drain off bacon fat Add the drained hominy. Cook in the pan where the bacon was fried until the hominy is well warmed. Then add an egg and milk mixture, just as if you were going to scramble eggs by themselves. Stir constantly until the egg part of the mixture is cooked. Serve with buttered toast for a breakfast or with a salad for a quick dinner.

<i> HOG AND HOMINY Mix together in an unlidded casserole or oven pan 2Ai c. hominy, I lb. browned hamburger or sausage, I sliced onion, and 2 or 3 c. tomatoes. Cook in oven almost an hour, then serve.

Hominy Grits Recipes

HOMINY GRITS First thoroughly dry your hominy. Then put it through a grinder set for coarse. Dry some more and then store for use. To cook, add boiling water and salt to taste and cook until done. Homemade grits may take as long as 4 hours to cook properly. Use about 3'A—4 parts water to I part grits. You can hasten the cooking time by soaking grits overnight beforehand. (Cook them in the water in which you soaked them.) Grits are good plain with just a dab of butter.

W> FRIED LEFTOVER GRITS Pour warm cooked grits into a rectangular dish—like a buttered bread pan. Let grits cool and get firm. The next meal, or whenever you're ready, cut the firm grits into slices and brown them slowly in hot fat or butter just as you would fried cornmeal mush.

<i> LEFTOVER GRITS CROQUETTES Combine 3 c. cooked grits with 2 eggs and seasoning. Form into flat round cakes. Dip into beaten egg, then bread crumbs, then again into egg. Fry in hot lard or butter until brown. (If short of eggs, use I egg extended with a little milk.)

Hominy Flour (Masa Harina) Recipes

W> MASA FLOUR Make hominy by any directions and dry it Grind to flour fineness.

MASA TORTILLAS Moisten masa flour to make a soft dough. Pat a chunk out thin or shape in a tortilla press to make cakes about 5 inches in diameter. Fry on a lightly greased griddle, turning frequently, until thoroughly cooked.

<i> AREPAS From Ruth of Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles: "Arepas are called 'Venezuelan hamburgers' and are traditionally made from white cornmeal prepared like Mexican masa harina. They are eaten for breakfast lunch, or supper;

you slit them halfway open, hollow them out and fill them with white cheese or beans (black), tuna fish or chicken salad, scrambled eggs, or a meat-vegetable mixture. To make them, you shape them like large English muffins about 12 cm. in diameter and 3 cm. high [5 inches wide and I inch high]. Then bake on a grill or griddle. Stir I 'A c. boiling water into 2 c. fresh commeal. Let stand a few minutes to absorb liquid. Should be very thick Stir in 2 T. oil. Shape into round cakes and bake on a grill, griddle, or in a preheated oven (400°F) until edges are brown— 15 minutes or so. Serve warm." tamales: A traditional tamale has three layers. Outside is the cornhusk. Just inside that comes an "envelope" of corn-meal. A meat mixture is inside the cornmeal layer—or mixed with the cornmeal. Or you can make a veggie tamale. Cornhusks. These hold the tamale together on the outside and are the first layer you put down. The soft inner husks of green corn are best to use, but you can also use tougher husks. Trim away the top and bottom ends of the husk. Leave them about 6 inches long and rinse in boiling water. If you have to use very tough husks, soaking them in cold water for a few hours beforehand will help. Wipe them dry before using.

Cornmeal "Envelope." Mix 4 c. yellow cornmeal, 11. salt, 2Vi c. stock (left over from cooking the meat part of the filling), and lA lb. fat (lard works well). Beat this thoroughly to make it light.

Meat Filling. Boil 1 lb. meat (any kind: chicken, beef, goat) with 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves, and a couple bay leaves. When the meat is tender, save the stock to use in making the envelope for cooking it. Dice the meat and saute the cubes in a bit of oil. (If you are rushed, you can just shred or chop or grind the meat instead of sauteing it.) For "hot" tamales, add chili powder. For regular tamales, add some mashed garlic or just salt and paprika. You could add a few olives or raisins to each portion of meat as you put it into the tamale. Or green pepper, chopped onion and celery, tomatoes, cream-style corn, or whatever else you have . . .

(A) Spread cornmeal mixture on husks

(B) Place small roll of meat mixture at edge of cornmeal

(D) Tie with string husk ties

Meat-Cornmeal Combination. Boil a chicken until tender. Cool and remove all the bones. Save the broth. Add any or all of the following ingredients or anything else you have that sounds good: V2 lb. seeded raisins, minced; V2 c. pitted olives; a fresh red pepper, chopped fine; 6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (if you decide on the eggs, mix them in after the cornmeal). Make a paste with 2 c. yellow cornmeal moistened with the reserved hot chicken stock. Season to taste with salt and onion juice. Add enough water so you can cook it in a double boiler, stirring, about 15 minutes. Then combine with the meat mixture. Shaping the Tamales. Spread your cornmeal envelope on each layer of husks you want to fill. If you are using a meat, cornmeal combination; just lay on the husks as much filling as they will reasonably contain, and then wrap. Using the cornmeal outer envelope, put the filling in the middle of your cornmeal layer. It helps to shape the meat into rolls the size of your little finger before you put them on the cornmeal paste. Now roll it up. Fold both ends of the husking down like you would the wrapping paper around a gift. Now tie it closed.

Tying up Your Tamales. Use husk ties or string, or just stack them in your steamer for cooking and hope they stay together. It's safer to tie. To make husk ties, tear some husks into strips and use like string.

Cooking the Tamales. You either steam or boil them. To steam them, use a steamer or rig up a makeshift one by making a rack in the top part of your canning kettle. Stack the tamales in it or on it, and cook until well done. To boil tamales, put a kitchen lid in the bottom of a deep kettle. Cover that with extra husks. Stack the tamales on top of that. Add the boiling stock that you cooked the meat in. You may add a few dried red peppers if you want the tamales extra hot. Cover tightly and cook until well done.

AFRICAN FERMENTED TAMALES Stir 4 c. boiling water into 4 c. commeal (stir fast so it doesn't lump). Cool to lukewarm. Stir in 2 T. unfavored yogurt Cover the mixture with a damp cloth and let ferment 8-24 hours. Then add 2 t salt and stir dough into 2 c. boiling water. Spoon this mixture onto husks, fold shut and steam until done. popcorn: Popcorn takes longer to mature than most sweet corns. Harvest it as you would other field corns, first drying it in the field. Then hang it in the house like seed corn and dry another 3-4 weeks. The kernels of popcorn need to be hard on the outside in order to get the proper explosion of the remaining moisture at the center of the kernel when it's heated. Popcorn is the hardest of all corns to shell. To keep from hurting your hand, shell by rubbing one ear of corn against another or cover your hand with an old sock before you rub kernels away from the cob. Store popcorn in tightly lidded glass jars (so kernels don't become too dry to pop). If you have bulk popcorn and need to store it in the open, choose a cool place (so further drying is less likely).

Reasons for Failure to Pop Well. A 12-14 percent moisture content is the key to good popping; it must be not too moist and not too dry inside the kernel. Popcorn will keep poppin', even after 3 years or more in storage, if the moisture level is right. The most common reason that popcorn fails to pop well is that it got too dry. If it sits in the pan and the kernels get a dark-colored, scorched look, some of them partly split, the problem is definitely dryness. To cure that, add 1 T. water per quart jar of corn, put the lid on as tightly as you can, and shake thoroughly 3 times a day for the next 3 days. Then try popping a little of it. If it still doesn't pop, give it another water treatment the same as before. (Watch for mold!)

Occasionally the problem is just the opposite, that your popcorn is too moist: it pops, but with a louder-than-usual noise, and the puffed kernels may look small and ragged and be tough to eat. In that case, spread in pans and slowly dry under low heat.

Popping. Dutch ovens are good popcorn poppers. So is an iron frying pan with a lid. So are commercial poppers. Allow V2 c. dry corn for every 1 gal. popped corn that you want. Melt about 1 T. cooking oil in your Dutch oven or some other heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid. When the oil is hot enough to get broken lines across it and is just starting to smoke, it's ready for the popcorn. Add the popcorn, cover, and cook over medium heat. Shake the pan on top of the heat constantly until you don't hear much more popping; then hurriedly take it off the heat to prevent burning. (It may seem frugal to try to get the last kernels to pop, but it's really wasteful because you risk burning the already-popped ones, and they start to get tough.) To butter the popcorn, just melt some butter in another pan, pour it over the popcorn, and stir to mix. Sprinkle with salt if you like.

<i> WARMED-UP POPCORN You can make a big bag of popped popcorn and keep it to use later. Warm it up in your dehydrator or oven. Serve plain or with seasoning. Re-heated, you'll be surprised how good it can taste!

<i> POPCORN CEREAL Eat leftover popcorn for breakfast with milk, sweetening, and fruit.

<i> MAKE-IT-YOURSELF POPCORN FLAVORING A powdered, favorite herb? Such as a chili-powder/cumin mix, or some grated or melted cheese stirred into the melted butter? Nuts or seeds? Dried fruit7 Caramel or maple syrup? A mixture of peanut butter and melted butter? Whatever the flavoring, just mix together with your freshly popped popcorn and serve!

<i> CINNAMON-RAISIN POPCORN MIX Mix together 2 T. melted butter, 3 T. brown sugar, Vi t ground cinnamon, 'A c. raisins, and about Aa c. apple chunks. Toss together with 8-10 c. freshly popped popcorn.

<P> CURRIED POPCORN Combine I t. curry powder with a pinch of garlic powder. Toss with 8-10 c. popcorn.

<i> CHEESE-COATED POPCORN Grate cheese to make A cup. Sprinkle cheese onto still-warm popped corn. Mix well. If you bake this for 15 minutes, it will dry out and be crisper.

HONEY-NUT GOURMET POPCORN Mix together 2 qt. freshly popped corn, I c. chopped peanuts, I c. raisins, and I c. sunflower seeds. Heat Vi c. honey and Vi c. water together in a pan, stirring, until you get to hard-ball stage. Add Vi c. butter and stir to melt Pour the sweet mix over the dry mixture, stirring until the kernels are all coated. Spread it out on 2 greased cookie sheets. Bake 15 minutes at 350 "F

<P> PICKLED CORN EARS From Etta Jaderborg, Chapman, KS: Use immature popcorn ears, not more than 2-3 inches long. Don't work with too many at a time. Drop them in boiling, salted water. Add I T. salt to each qt water. Drop in the corn; let stand for 3 minutes. Drain and pack tightly in small sterile jars to stand upright. Make a hot syrup of I qt. vinegar, I T. sugar, and 2 T. mixed pickling spices tied in a cloth sack. Pour that over the hot packed corn. Then add Va pod of hot dried red pepper to each jar and seal. They should be ready in 2 weeks.

<P> POPCORN CAKE This is something different and fun for a child's birthday party. In a double boiler (or kettle over hot water), melt together A lb. butter and 4Ai oz. apple caramel.

When that is melted and blended, add a package of marsh-mallows and a cup of peanuts and stir well. Now pour the coating slowly over the popcorn, mixing as you pour until it's all coated. Press the coated popcorn into a greased angel food cake pan. When cooled (put in refrigerator if in a hurry), remove from pan onto a plate. (If it sticks, run a little hot water over the outside of the pan.) Slice with a serrated knife when ready to serve. It's not really health food, but I believe in serving something besides homemade bread and carrot sticks on birthdays. It's only once a year!

<P> POPCORN BALLS Boil together I c. white Karo syrup, IA c. sugar (white or brown), A c. butter, and 4 t. vinegar until a thread of the syrup snaps when tested in cold water. Have ready 8 qt. freshly popped corn. Pour syrup, while hot, over the corn, stirring with a spoon until well mixed. Set out a pan of cold water next to where you'll be working. Wet your hands in the cold water and begin to press the corn into balls, working as quickly as you can. Then cool the balls on a greased cookie sheet. Optional: Before pouring over the syrup, premix a cup of shelled peanuts into the popcorn.

<i> CRACKER JACKS Violet Stewart sent me this one: "Start with 8 or 9 cups of popped corn. Put into a dishpan with enough room to move it around easily In a separate pan, combine 2 c. packed brown sugar, I stick margarine or butter, I t. salt, At c. white syrup or light sorghum, and I t. vanilla. Cook together at a full rolling boil for 5 minutes. If it spins a thread, it is ready Add A21. soda. (Hold pan over dishpan of corn before adding soda so that if it runs over, it will fall on the corn.) Stir a moment Pour over popped corn. Stir until all is coated well. Put in a roaster in 200°F oven for I hour. Look now and then—some ovens are hotter. Stir occasionally so it will not get in one mass. Store in a covered container. It keeps well."

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