paper, 209 pp., $19.95
Beautiful Corn is both a history of corn and a thorough discussion of growing, cooking, and consuming corn. It is bound make you long for a sweet, freshly picked, running with butter, young ear of corn. Corn is a grain of the Americas, now found on every continent except Antarctica. This book traces the genetics of corn and its initial history in Europe, replacing millet and other grains used for food. Long, popcorn, and flint corn were commonly used for silage, and some varieties remain in use as animal feed. Summer sweet corn is bred for the table while some varieties are designed for cornmeal, especially white varieties of dent corn in the American South. Other varieties were bred to be drought-tolerant, in certain areas of the American Midwest.
The latter part of this book examines transforming hard kernels of corn into edible products. The author describes his farm in Oregon, and the uses of his crops. Dry whole kernels of corn eventually are transformed into tortillas and tamales. Boutard includes recipes for polenta, grits, spoon bread, corn meal cake, and cookies, making this book quite a varied survey of corn.
— Adele Kleine, volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden