Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin (CHEW), May 6, 2015 Meeting, 7:15 PM
“How Corn Changed Itself, Then Changed Everything Else”
Presenter: Cynthia Clampitt
About 10,000 years ago, a weedy grass growing in Mexico possessed of a strange trait known as a “jumping gene” transformed itself into a larger and more useful grass-the cereal grass that we would come to know as maize and then corn. Nurtured by early farmers in the Oaxaca region, this grain would transform the Americas even before First Contact. After First Contact, it would span the globe, with mixed results, but for newcomers to North America, it expanded its influence from rescuing a few early settlers to creating the Midwest. Today, it is more important than ever. As Margaret Visser noted in her classic work Much Depends on Dinner, “Without corn, North America-and most particularly modern, technological North America-is inconceivable.” Copies of Cynthia Clampitt’s book, Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland, will be available for purchase at the meeting.
Cynthia Clampitt is a writer and food historian. A fourth generation foodie, Clampitt has always considered food a topic worth studying. She has pursued her love of culture, history, and food in thirty-seven countries on six continents (so far). She is the author of Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland, published by the University of Illinois Press. Cynthia is a member of Culinary Historians of Chicago, the Society of Women Geographers, the Agricultural History Society, the Association of Food Journalists, and the history section of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
Please join us at 7:15 pm at the Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., Madison, WI 53704; 608-241-1574 To get on the mailing list, or for more information, email Joan Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Jean DeVore at 608-836-1368.