Navajo Grits
March 22, 2006 9:46 AM   Subscribe

A few years ago, I attended an Elderhostle study on the Navajo culture in New Mexico. One part of the presentation was a hands on instruction on how to stone grind corn by hand. We then each had a sample of blue corn mush which was delicious. I got to thinking that this would be quite good served up like grits with butter and pepper. Since then I have been trying to find stone ground blue corn similar to that which was served. The commercial blue corn that I have found is much lighter in color and while good for baking has comparatively weak flavor and almost no mouth texture when cooked as mush. This is true even when cooked at double the concentration called for in the recipe. What is the darker blue corn meal called and where might I get some?
posted by Raybun to Food & Drink (7 answers total)
Is there no one you can contact at the Elderhostel study (not even sure what that is)?

If not, I would try locating a historical society specializing in Navajo history, or any other Navajo group to find out where you could get authentic blue corn meal.
posted by agregoli at 11:03 AM on March 22, 2006

I'm guessing here, but it sounds like you're describing a blue-corn version of masa or posole. You could probably find posole in a mexican grocery and grind it up yourself, if you don't want to make it completely from scratch.
posted by ook at 11:12 AM on March 22, 2006

Definitely contact the Elderhostel organization that served as your host site. Elderhostel itself won't know, but the local host that planned and ran your program should be able to figure out who did that part of your program. Contact the person who led the workshop directly.

I've run a lot of these programs as a museum host organization. Some of the sources museums use for materials are pretty obscure (for instance, where I work now, we have to mail-order raisins with seeds in them from a vineyard), so if no one here pipes up with a resource, your best bet will be to ask where you learned it. Who knows -- they might even have the cornmeal made specifically for educational purposes.
posted by Miko at 11:31 AM on March 22, 2006

Have you tried Tamaya brand? It is produced by the Santa Ana Pueblo here in NM.
posted by Sara Anne at 11:52 AM on March 22, 2006

Perhaps that fact that you ground it yourself, that is that it was freshly ground, had something to do with its stronger flavor?
posted by caddis at 12:45 PM on March 22, 2006

Probably a dumb question, but was their corn nixtamalised and yours isn't? The process substantially alters the colour, flavour and mouthfeel of corn. Instructions here.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:54 PM on March 22, 2006

Just to clarify, are you using the blue corn equivalent of polenta - plain ol' corn, dried, then ground up fine? Making hominy and then masa transforms the corn into something very different than plain ol' dried corn.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:57 PM on March 22, 2006

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