Saturday, January 11, 2014

Nixtamalize

Every once in a while a word keeps popping up that strikes my fancy- and today's word is "nixtamalize." 

After eating at Danny Bowien's  new Mission Cantina on the Lower East Side last month, I was talking to the chefs about some of their processes and they talked about  how they "nixtamalize" their Anson Mills corn in-house to make their tortillas. It got me thinking.  There's a good article in the New York Times  about the importance of corn to the Mexican culture and it speaks a bit to the process. 

In a nutshell, the word  typically refers to a process for the preparation of corn where the grain is soaked and cooked in a solution ( often limewater) and  then hulled. The corn undergoes a chemical transformation, making it easier to cook with, better tasting, and more nutritious. It amazes me to think that the process was developed over 3000 years ago in a simpler time.  Some things don't change.


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