The Maya believed humans were made from corn. For them corn was , and still is,the source of all sustenance and meant the survival of their civilization.Yum Kaax the god of corn is always represented as young, sometimes with a corn cob on his head or holding a vessel with three corn cobs in it,
Today it still is the food of choice with tortillas being the main staple diet of the Maya. Cooked in many various ways, ground for masa,(dough)to make as aforementioned tortillas,atole,pozole (a drink)to which is added chili and salt or sweetened, with local honey,another staple for the milpa workers, a midmorning snack. A milpa (field)is where corn is grown .Roasted in its skin in an underground pit adds an unusual flavour for our northern . palate. Not my favourite, after living in Canada for so many years and eating the yummie peaches and cream corn, to me nothing can beat this flavour.
I get lots of gifts of fresh corn from the locals and I’ve found the only way I can get a good flavour for my taste is to remove the skins and add sugar to the boiling water .The corn tends to be quite hard and takes a long time to cook to get the soft corn as we know.The staff watch on with curiosity and more so when its ready to eat and I smear it with butter!
Now is the time to harvest the corn and all the milpa workers are busy finding ways they can sell or just to store for the family needs.The stalks are used to feed the cattle or left to allow beans ,planted beneath the corn ,to grow . Nothing seems to go to waste every part useful for something.
Removing the kernels from the corn is a laborious task which more times than not is left for the women to do. Or if they are lucky they may have a machine that does the hard work.
Because we live in the Ruta Puuc region (the route of the hills) many wonder where they grow the produce ,as the fields are not visible from the roadside.But as you drive along you will see dirt roads leading off from the main highway and if you were to follow one of these into the Selva Seca (dry jungle) you will eventually come upon a clearing which is flat with fertile soil.But don’t be surprised to see corn planted between the limestone terrain too!
photos from Google images except for the roasted corn photos