Warm Hominy Salad with Peas, Carrots, and Cilantro and Ecuadorian Hot Sauce (Jose Garces)

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Jose Garces lists this as one of his favorite recipes. This is what he has to say:

When my mom makes this dish in the springtime, she uses fresh garbanzo and fava beans as well as the English peas. If you spy either or both of these at your local farm[er’s] market or Latin grocery, snap them up and add them to the mix: shucking, blanching, and peeling them is a bit of a hassle, but they are fine things (cosas finas), for sure. English peas are often available in supermarkets year-rough; note that when peas are in season, the pea pods tend to produce more per pod and the peas themselves are often larger, so you may not need to buy the full two pounds called for to end up with cups of shelled peas. Also, the size of the peas themselves will be larger when they’re in season. Canned hominy is stocked in [some] supermarkets.

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Historic Hominy Foodway: Poster Presented at the Society for American Archaeology, April 2014.

Philip Georg Friedrich von Reck's 1736 watercolor of a watermelon, the inspiration for my poster!

Philip Georg Friedrich von Reck’s 1736 watercolor of a watermelon, the inspiration for my poster!

You should never get too attached to the posters you make for conferences–they only see the light of day for about three hours, and then they spend the rest of their lives in the back of your closet. Despite knowing better, I was (and still am) really proud of this one–I presented it at the 2014 Society for American Archaeology Conference held in Austin, Texas. The color scheme and the design are extraordinarily me (mistake number two: putting too much of yourself in the poster), and I love the use of quotes to drive the narrative. I also love the use of Guillaume Deisle’s 1718 map as the background! Continue reading

Long Island Country Samp (Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey)

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John White watercolor of an Algonquin man and woman eating a meal, titled, “Man and Woman Eating.”

While samp is another name for hominy, it also denotes a regional take on the dish. If hominy is associated with the South, then samp is associated with New England. Surprisingly enough, both names originate from the Algonquin language. Just how “nixtamalization” is a Spanish interpretation of a Nahuatl word, “samp” and “hominy” are English interpretations of Algonquin words.

This recipe comes from Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey, originally published in the New York Times.
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Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Nixtamalization But Didn’t Know to Ask

A number of New World food items, including maize, were adopted so quickly in Europe that they appeared in paintings by the mid-sixteenth century.

Vertumnus, a mid-sixteenth-century painting by Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Note the use of a maize cob for an ear. Maize, like many New World food items, was rapidly assimilated into the culinary traditions of Europe, becoming common place within only a few decades after Columbus’s first trip.

Essential to hominy is the process of nixtamalization (pronounced NEESH-ta-mal-i-za-shun). It’s a tricky word, and honestly, it’s a tricky process. For this reason, there’s a lot of misinformation about what nixtamalization is and exactly what it does. Continue reading

Boiling Water: An Experimental Archaeological Approach, Pt. 1

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Replica pots made for and used in this experiment. (Cat for scale?)

For my dissertation, I’ve done some extensive research on the subject of hominy. I’ve read numerous historical accounts, I’ve collected recipes and videos and recipes, and I’ve sampled any and all things hominy that money can buy. But the most rewarding experience I’ve had so far is making hominy using replica ceramic vessels based on those recovered from Moundville (A.D. 1120-1650, a Mississippian civic-ceremonial center, located in west-central Alabama). Continue reading

Where to Buy Dried Hominy

Hominy, by Joel Penkman. Commissioned for the book Taste of America, and for sale on Etsy.

Hominy, by Joel Penkman. Commissioned for the book Taste of America by Phaidon.

Before embarking on your own culinary hominy adventure, you first need to find dried hominy. Of course, you can always grow it yourself, but that requires months of planning which you may or may not have already done.

In case you haven’t grown your own, here are some of the places I’ve had the most success finding dried hominy (in order of personal preference): Continue reading

Eastern Woodland Hominy Stew (with Bitter Greens and Sausage)

Hominy stew with bitter green and sausage.

Hominy stew with bitter green and sausage.

This is a recipe my husband and I devised. The idea was to construct a flavor profile that tasted like the South–not the deep-fried South we’re all familiar with, but the deep woods South. The ingredients are similar to those native to the area–bitter greens, onions and garlic (similar to wild garlic and ramps), mushrooms, and of course, hominy. The first pot we made of this stew was huge, and fed us for about a week!

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What Hominy Is and What Hominy Isn’t

cooked kernels versus dried, 5Border

On the left, three flint maize kernels soaked overnight in a solution made from woodash lye and water; on the right, dried flint maize.

Hominy is a varied term with a varied past. I’ve already touched on this a bit, but the subject deserved much more attention. It can be ground or whole, lyed or cooked in woodash, and can be from various maize varieties. So, what are these different definitions of hominy and where do they come from? Continue reading

Hominy Foodway of the Native Eastern Woodlands. (Conference Presentation, 71st Annual SEAC Conference.)

Thomas de Bry engraving modelled after John White's watercolor.

Thomas de Bry engraving modelled after John White’s watercolor.

What follows is a presentation I gave in the fall of 2014 at the annual Southeastern Archaeology conference, held in Greenville, South Carolina (full citation appears at the end). While this is a cursory overview of the more extensive material published in the 2015 volume of Native South, the article does not have the images from the presentation. The images included are paintings, drawings, and photographs of Indians eating/making hominy throughout the historic Eastern Woodlands, and I think many of them are spectacular! Continue reading