The AP carries an interesting story today about huitlacoche, known as corn smut to you Hoosiers and others with a more English-speaking connection to the land. The black, slimy plague upon the ears is actually pretty good for you:
…test results just published in the journal Food Chemistry reveal that an infection that U.S. farmers and crop scientists have spent millions trying to eradicate, is packed with unique proteins, minerals and other nutritional goodies.
Corn smut has a Spanish name because — this is no surprise for you foodies — it’s considered a delicacy in Mexican cuisine. (“Considered a delicacy in” is the grown-up version of belching at the dinner table, which, every 13-year-old who does it will tell you, is actually considered a compliment to the cook in some cultures.) You can find huitlacoche recipes in Rick Bayless’ excellent Mexican cookbook, but I’ve never made it myself. My former colleague Carol Tannehill made some in the newsroom once, for a story on strange ingredients, if I recall correctly. The corn smut had to be specially ordered and arrived frozen, but it thawed into something that very closely resembled drain-clog slime — black and gooey and entirely gross.
Carol prepared it in a simple tortilla-wrap recipe, sliced it up and passed it around. And readers? It was delicious. It tasted like dirt, but in a good way, the way the best mushrooms do. If there was gourmet dirt, that’s what huitlacoche tastes like. I didn’t expect to like it, and only sampled it because I’ve always been a human garbage disposal and can choke down almost anything in the name of science or a blind taste test. And I had seconds.
I don’t have much for you today because I spent my morning catching up on some long-neglected friends, including Hank, and read his rave review of Kim Severson’s new book, which I didn’t even know existed. Severson is one of my favorite food writers, and probably my single fave among newspaper food writers, and this news is welcome, indeed. I bet Kim has eaten huitlacoche, and please, save the lesbian jokes.
I was happy to read this because I finally caught “Julie and Julia” on DVD, and have this review: Cute. It’s a cute movie with moments of shining grace. Once again, Meryl Streep didn’t so much act as disappear into her character, and I appreciated the movie trickery involved in getting her to stand head-and-shoulders over everyone around her (step stools, I imagine). The best lines I’ve read before, as they’re mostly Nora Ephron’s, not Julie’s or Julia. The line about the predictability of cooking in an uncertain world — that’s Nora’s, as is the stuff about not crowding the mushrooms. As a coming-of-age movie for women that doesn’t overemphasize sex (the big theme in all male coming-of-age movies) but makes it part of the narrative just the same, it worked beautifully. It’s Ephron’s best work to date, and that’s something, IMO.
And now on to the bloggage on this sleep-deprived morning. Just one piece, but it’s a good’un:
So, what do we think of the Jewish joke Obama’s National Security Advisor told yesterday? I note the reaction of the crowd, at a pro-Israel think tank, presumably full of Jews: Laughter. Good enough for me. Jews are famous for their collective sense of humor, so I’ll take my cue from them, but Roy ventures into the world of the rightbloggers, a very humorless place.
Phoned-in this may be, but I have a busy day ahead, and so: Farewell.