Amaizeing accounts

Mary Ann Dimand amaebi at iwon.com
Mon Mar 20 16:33:23 EST 2000


The definitions of corn pone, hominy and grits given are correct, but I'll
add to them from personal experience.

I grew up in what I call a southern-culture [American] place. Not that many
Americans have been there or are conscious of it, and they tend to think
from the outside, "That's not the South!" The endemic culture, however, is a
blend of southern and midwestern American culture. Not to be mysterious,
it's Southern Illinois, six hours and worlds away from Chicago. Since corn
pone, hominy and grits are (in the U.S.) more commonly served in the South
than elsewhere, I grew up with them.

Corn (maize) pone is made with (typically yellow) cornmeal, and is less
tender than the midwestern cornbread generally is, for those who've had
that. (More like bread, less like cake.) Being cooked on cast iron gives the
outside of the pone a crunchiness I like. Not all pones are flat, as there
are specialty pans made of cast iron with indentations shaped like rounded
oblongs or ears of cone, and pone "sticks" are sometimes made in these. I
like a sweet potato pone I learned to make from Celestine Sibley's
Sweetwater books-- it combines the corn flavour and outer crispiness of
standard pone with the sweetness and interior tenderness imparted by grated
sweet potato.

Hominy, like cornmeal, is made of hard corn rather than the sweet corn
Americans are used to eating fresh. It can be white or yellow, with the
yellow having the more pronounced maize flavour. The outer skin of each
kernel is removed by soaking in a lye solution. This also swells the kernel.
The kernels are then rinsed, so don't be scawed by the lye. :D  Hominy can
be bought tinned or dried by those who prefer to leave the lyeing to others.
Dried hominy is (in my experience) a Caribbean product not widely available
in chain grocery stores, and takes longer to prepare as it's *very* dried.
Prepared hominy has a chewy/tender texture I find agreeable, and I like it
quite a lot, particularly yellow hominy.

Grits are indeed coarsely ground hominy, and prepared like porridge,
semolina or samp. I have seen yellow grits available only in one store thus
far. As grits are typically made of white corn, they have less flavour than
yellow grits do or would. Still, they are pleasant enough for those who like
them, with pepper and a bit of salt (for me) or with sugar (for others), and
some like to add butter. Southern Congee. :D

Sally, it's been a while since I've read Dear Enemy. It was kindly
(fictional) Sally and not her naughty predecessors who favoured pone in the
orphanage, I hope?

Mary Ann
(of course, the orphanage was in the North, so perhaps pone was
the *true* reason the establishment was burnt down!)

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