Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Corn for the mill

I realized the other day that I didn't know exactly how Salvadoran women process their dry corn before they take it to the local mill (even small villages have a corn molina) for grinding. Martha was happy to fill me in: you put the dry corn kernels in a big pot with water and lime, and boil them for about an hour. The kernels open and soften during this time - it's the same process that's used to make hominy. Then you have to rinse them carefully, several times, to get rid of the lime. And then, if you're a Salvadoran woman, you put the corn in a huacal, a plastic tub, and you balance it on your head, and you take it to the mill. After it's ground, you take it home and make the family's tortillas, or perhaps make tortillas to sell. Here the tortillas are thick and they're always made from white corn, very unlike the Mexican corn tortilla. They are filling and healthy - the staff of life.

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