Archive for February 20th, 2006

“Nixtamalization”

Tamales and atole for breakfast.

Nixtamalization is a process discovered by the Aztec and Maya civilizations of Mesoamerica….*

False.

So superior is nixtamalized maize to the unprocessed kind that it is tempting to see the rise of Mesoamerican civilization as a consequence of this invention, without which the peoples of Mexico and their southern neighbours would have remained forever on the village level.*

Please!

Archaeological data suggests the lime-treated ground maize dough was being made and eaten when the largest Mesoamerican settlements were villages.

Overall, however, I do find useful information in this volume, and am glad to have it. Still, foodies must be careful that their received knowledge has a basis in science—and the rest of the real world!

* From entry “Nixtamalization” in Alan Davidson’s The Oxford Companion to Food (1999, Oxford University Press), page 534.