Re: [CH] corn husks

The Old Bear (
Sun, 03 May 1998 12:50:37 -0400

In ChileHeads Digest, v.4 No.400, Judy Howle wrote:

>Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 14:09:12 -0500
>From: Judy Howle <>
>Subject: [CH] corn husks
>Thanks to all who replied.  She drove to Missoula and found some.  
>Her town is so small nobody had them.  Elsa offered to ship her some 
>if she wants them in the future, from NM where they are as cheap as 

We take for granted the vast variety of items carried in American
supermarket "super stores."  It's amazing what one can find in a 
well-inventoried 50,000 square feet.

We tend to forget that this is a fairly recent phenomenon, and that 
much small stores were the norm only two decades ago, and that as 
recently as the 1960s, to find any 'ethnic' foods, one had to 
either live in an ethnic neighborhood or seek out a specialty store 
which served one.

Consider every-day supermarket items like yogurt, bagels, kiwi 
fruit, snow crab, tortillas, pita bread, feta cheese, alfalfa 
sprouts, etc. which were only found regionally or in specialty 
stores as recently as two or three decades ago.
Still, small town America is out there.  And that's not all bad. 
I recall the suitcase full of dried chiles, pinon nuts and corn 
husks which I carried back after visiting a friend in Portales, 
New Mexico in a part of the world known for peanut fields as 
far as the eye can see.

But for those of us in much of the United States, we are losing any 
sense of seasonality or locality in our cuisine.  We can buy fresh
strawberries in February and live Maine lobsters in Arizona.  

And so we quickly become disconnected from the whys and wherefores 
of regional and ethnic cuisines.  Wherever we live, we come to 
expect that everything should be available all of the time.  We plan 
our menus based upon whim rather than any external constraint 
beyond the cost of air freight.

In many ways this is a wonderful benefit of the times in which we 
live.  But I cannot believe that it comes entirely without some loss.

And maybe that loss is that we forget that Hamilton, Montana is not 
indistinguishable from Hamilton, Massachusetts or Hamilton, Ontario 
or Hamilton, Arkansas -- and that they don't all have 50,000 square 
foot supermarkets with corn husks.  At least not yet.

The Old Bear