From Jiffy to Maseca : The Industrialization of Corn

Presented at the 2016 Southern Foodways Symposium
University of Mississipi
Oxford, MS
October 14, 2016

Mexico, where corn began, understands itself not only as a nation of corn-eaters, but as corn itself. One of that country’s best known idioms is Sin mais, no hay pais: Without corn, there is no country.

But as I look at what’s eaten in both Mexico and the U.S., I have to be honest:  We eat an awful lot of Jiffy and Maseca.

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Southern Foodways Symposium Lecture: Jiffy to Maseca

Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium • Oct. 14, 2016

Jiffy corn muffin mix is the second-most sold dry grocery item in the U.S. Maseca is used in more than two-thirds of all corn tortillas in Mexico. Yet the food world tends to sneer at them both. By tracing the origin stories of these two iconic corn mixes, I explore how America’s current romance with kitchen labor can edify longstanding inequities of race and gender—and remind us that we live, and eat, in the present.

Full text of my talk can be read here.