Reuters Science News has a new story today reporting that the genome of maize has been sequenced, which reminds me that corn is a grain. It is a starchy carbohydrate. Like rice and wheat it could be cultivated to produce an abundant harvest that would feed villages and cities. It was a miracle food. It has been developed into a fertile, abundant and cheap, food resource. This has presented a business dilemma and challenge for farmers, food processors, distillers, and business people. How much corn can people be led to purchase and consume?
It turns up as an ingredient in processed goods. Michael Pollan provides an interesting and informative explanation of modern corn, corn farming and industrial food processing in The Omnivore's Dilemna.
In the grocery store, it is presented identifiably in ground corn flour (grits, meal, polenta), as the main ingredient in corn chips, and as a fresh, frozen or canned product. In its raw forms, it is a nutritious and tasty item. It is a starchy grain, though, not a vegetable. Corn chips are fried or baked flat breads or croutons, made of starch and fat, just like potato chips.
A meal of meat, potatoes or rice, and corn, has protein and two kinds of carbs. I was looking at the labels on the (Green Giant) frozen foods in my freezer. Corn has over 150 calories in a 3/4 cup serving. Peas have about 90 calories for that size serving. Beans have about 35 calories. Mixed vegetables with corn, peas, beans and carrots are marked at about 70 calories.
I like corn. I plan to keep using corn as a occasional treat - corn on the cob is wonderful. I think it is a staple, but I have to think of it as a starch course like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice.