ambience: indigenous music, harp and drum, making masa
This month in the Mexican state of Chiapas, they’re celebrating corn — the countless ways it can be prepared and also its many varieties. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet presented by Dupont. That’s the sound of fresh kernels of corn being boiled. It’s part of the preparations for the annual Corn Festival held in the city of San Cristobal de las casas. Kippy Nigh is the owner of Casa del Pan, a restaurant in Chiapas.
“Well today I’m making this traditional Chiapas soup, ‘chiplin con bola’. Chiplin is a little herb, kind of, similar to watercress in flavor. We combine that with balls of corn dough, put some chopped onions in there, and serve at the table with cream and a little bit of chile.”
Well that’s the sound of the boiled corn being ground, as it gets one step closer to being made into soup. But this dish only represents one of many ways that corn is prepared and eaten throughout Mexico.
“Roasted corn-on-the-cob, boiled corn-on-the-cob, tostados, salsas, and we use fresh corn to stuff chiles. Corn bread, they make corn cakes here.”
In addition to sampling traditional foods, San Cristobal’s festival-goers also learn about the diversity of corn varieties which were traditionally used by the indigenous people of Mexico.
“Each variety has something wonderful about it, resistance to one kind of insect, for example, or flavor, or size. Some are heirlooms from the ancestors of a particular family. Each variety has something interesting about it. Each taste a little different and they use them for different things.”
Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.