Food stories: the corn

For Maya, Inca and Aztec tribes, corn was so important to be considered a godsend: rituals and gifts to the cob-adorned God were a crucial moment for these ancient cultures. There are even legends about it: according to the Maya, the first human beings were created using corn flour!

As a matter of fact, the corn plant’s origins are in Central America, in particular in the Oaxaca region in Mexico where around 9,000 years ago pre-Columbian natives began to consider it a food. These tribes gave a name to it, defining it “mahiz”. The original plant, which had become the main dish in Central America, was very different to the one we eat today and its fruit was a very small dry vegetable that had an unpleasant flavour of raw potato.

It was only after the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus that corn arrived in Europe and, then, worldwide.

Today corn is 1000 times bigger, easier to husk and sweeter than its ancestor. Its culinary uses are a lot: from the same ingredient we can get Mexican tortillas, Venezuelan arepas, Indian chapati, Italian polenta and African couscous