I visited Burlington, Iowa in August many years ago and was struck by the vast fields of corn as far as I could see. Having grown up in Roswell, New Mexico and taking for granted seeing the horizon and big sky, all those corn fields impressed me.
Last night I watched a documentary called King Corn (2007) in which two young men Ian Cheney and Curtis Ellis move to Iowa and plant an acre of corn. While the corn is growing, they go about finding out as much as they can about corn by talking to scientists, researchers, farmers, manufacturers, and even Earl Butz, former Secretary of Agriculture in the 1970’s responsible for removing payments to farmers to not grow crops. Samples of Cheney and Ellis’ hair are analyzed by a biochemist at the Univ. of Virginia and are told that there’s a lot of corn in their hair!
Ultimately, we discover that corn equals fast food….corn oil, corn-fed beef, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup. Interesting information: corn-fed cattle gain weight faster than grass-fed cattle. In addition to corn, they’re fed antibiotics to reduce acidosis, a condition resulting from eating too much corn. Cattle are placed in feedlots to reduce movement (and more weight gain). High fructose corn syrup has replaced sugar sweetening in the last 20-30 years and, like sugar, has no nutrients. The next time you’re in the grocery, try to find something that isn’t processed with some form of corn! Like the cattle in feedlots, Americans have become obese by consuming all these corn products. Dang, but I love corn on the cob, corn puddings, and my mother’s jazzy Mexican Corn Bread:
2 c. cornmeal
3 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
small grated onion
1 c. cream style corn
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. melted shortening
Pour half of batter in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.Spread with 1 c. grated cheddar or longhorn cheese and 1 can of green chilies. Cover with remaining batter. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.
Mix all but the cheese. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Pour in batter. Bake 30 min. at 350 degrees. Tastes good warm or cold!