Monday, February 20th, 2006
Nixtamalization is a process discovered by the Aztec and Maya civilizations of Mesoamerica….*
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.*
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.