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What am I?

Name that . . . - for the answer scroll to the end
(19th November
2001)

This plant can be found as an ingredient in more than three thousand items in the grocery store. It is also used in the manufacture of synthetic fibers such as rayon and nylon, acetone, certain plastics, wood resin, lubricating oils, synthetic rubber, abrasives, pipes, shoe polish, paper, saccharin, paints, soaps, and linoleum.

It has been domesticated for about ten thousand years, and some biologists believe it evolved from a wild plant called teosinte. Today there are more than one thousand named varieties. Some varieties take two months to mature, while others take as long as eleven months to mature.

The United States produces more than forty per cent of the world output. Other major producers are China, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, France, Hungary and Italy.

The disease pellagra is strongly associated with eating this plant. Traditional ancient processing methods with ashes or other alkaline substance such as lime, helped to avoid this problem.

Confusion can arise when American and British acquaintances discuss this plant.

Chef James EhlerThis article is from Chef James Ehler of Key West, Florida.

James is a webmaster, cook, chef, writer and (like me) a self-confessed computer nerd. He is the former executive chef of Martha's Steak & Seafood Restaurant and the former Reach Hotel (both in Key West), the Hilton Hotel in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the New Bern Golf and Country Club, North Carolina.

He is now webmaster and cook at the Blue Heaven Restaurant in Key West while he works on his Food Encyclopedia (five years so far). It is well worth paying a visit to James' food reference website which is a useful resource well worth Bookmarking - to visit either website just click on their title:

The Food Reference Website
The Blue Heaven Restaurant, Key West, Florida

If you want to contact James just email him by clicking here.

The answer : Corn (Maize)
In British English, the word 'corn' tends to apply to any cereal grain. In the United States it refers to 'maize'.

© James T. Ehler, 2001
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