Thursday, January 31, 2008

Blue Corn Meal

Hopi Women Grinding Corn in Arizona*

The December 2007 issue of New Mexico Magazine had an article on blue cornmeal recipes called “Holiday Blues” which was beautifully illustrated with a photo of a blue and white china bowl filled with blue corn atole topped with plump blueberries. Atole is, as they explained, a gruel that is served as a porridge or a drink. They made it sound like such a wonderful cold weather breakfast dish that we went shopping around Clovis for some blue corn meal of our own. We found some at the S & S Supermarket on 2204 N. Main Street. This little market, by the way, was delightful because of its “just right” size—not too big, not too small—and the friendliness of the staff, who even helped unload our cart onto the checkout counter for us.
I couldn’t find the New Mexico Magazine article reprinted online, so you may have to search out a print copy of the issue if you want to read it. In the meantime, the Foodways of the Rio Grande web site has some wonderful photographs and tells us: “…blue corn meal is used in the making of atole, a hot breakfast gruel; chaqueque, a moist blue corn bread; and special blue corn tortillas, a type of flat bread made from a watery batter and poured over a hot griddle. Atole is also given to anyone who is ill and it was frequently a dying person's last meal.” If you are interested in reading about blue corn production in New Mexico, take a look at New Mexico State University's article on Blue Corn Production in New Mexico.

Blue Cornmeal Recipes
Traditional Native American Recipes Includes recipes for blue corn atole and blue corn porridge.

According to the High Beam Encyclopedia, which quotes an article from Sunset Magazine: “In a time when food ideas and supplies seem to leap from one part of the country to another almost overnight, blue corn has kept pretty much to its native terrain--you've generally had to travel to New Mexico to get a supply.” Luckily for you, the Internet provides some alternatives. You can order blue corn meal online from these sources.

Santa Ana Pueblo

NM Pinon Coffee Co. (on the Seasonings and Mixes page)
*The photograph above (LC-USZ62-56416) is from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. The LC believes that there are no restrictions on the use of this photo. If you know of any, please contact me via the comments section on this blog.


Val said...

I love that picture from New Mexico Magazine "Holiday Blues." As soon as I saw it I immediately tore the picture out of the magazine and added it to my scrapbook of recipes! Thanks for this great information!

clairz said...

And thank you for your kind comment, Val. I am working on a mini-series of posts about New Mexican foods and recipes, and having a lot of fun with it!