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BLUE PARCHED CORN

Kaskaskia / Ft. Clark . M. M. Quaife in his 1913 book, " Chicago and the Old Northwest , 1673-1835". Quaife has many good references to forts and players. Kaskaskia, its taking by the Hannibal of Kentucky (which was a county of Virginia ) Clark , and its history are fully covered. Later (1814) Forsyth is pleading the case for a Factory at Ft. Clark , so the Pottawatomies can receive goods "as cheap in this was as they formerly did in the factory at Chicago ". They were bemoaning the high prices at the sutler's store.

§         This is an excellent text in some ways, and the fact that the map shows many forts and settlements and pointedly does not show Fort Clark in relationship to Kaskaskia may or may not shed light. There have been some foods found and used at some of these locations; one of those is shown below.

“Corn is probably not what you think it is: it is a generic term and it depends on where you live. In the United States , corn means maize. In England the term means wheat and in Scotland corn is the same as oats. In northern Germany , Korn is rye. In truth all corn means is "grain" and each locality interprets it as standing for its own familiar grain.” Leonard, W. H. & J. H. Martin. Cereal Crops New York : Macmillan, 1963.

“Maize saved the first white Virginians from starvation during their very first winter in Jamestown , when the Indians gave Captain John Smith some 500 bushels of corn, after the Virginians had exhausted their food supply. The same food allowed the New England Plymouth colony to survive and prosper. First raised in Europe in significant quantities around 1525 by the Spanish, it finally reached England in 1562. Generally, throughout Europe and England it had little use and was considered quite inferior to other more common grains”, per the book by Brothwell, Don. Food in Antiquity. London : Thames & Hudson, 1919. Carson, G. Cornflake Crusade. New York : Rinehart, 1957.

When we speak of corn, we speak of maize. Maize is a relatively new grain when compared to the rest of our grains. A grain unique to the Americas and while used for thousands of years by the Native American Peoples, it wasn’t until the first voyage of Columbus, in 1492, that Europeans learned of this grain.

By historical accounts originated in the southern areas of Mexico around 700 B.C. this maize was of the “blue” variety. By 4,000 B.C. it was in the area now known as the southwestern United States . The multiple colored varieties reached the Ohio River Valley a mere 2,000 years ago.

With this production of maize came “parched blue corn” and its salt brine wash that added to the storage life from the southwest. Being one of the first trade items to spread from the southern parts of Mexico to the northern border of the Americas , reaching from the shining sea to the west and being traded east to the Mississippi , this one item opened trade routes never experienced before.

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Until next time, we leave as friends and followers of those that went before us.

Buck Conner  

"One who trades”

"Uno quién negocia"

“Unqui commerce”

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