[Sca-cooks] treating food with lye

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Wed Nov 29 06:16:20 PST 2006

Hominy is hulled, dried corn.  The hulls are removed through boiling.  Lye 
hominy is produced when lye is used to soften the hulls before boiling.  In 
the U.S. hominy is commonly used to refer to lye hominy.  Hominy and lye 
hominy were developed in the pre-columbian Americas and are cultural 
transfers, so you probably won't find any references to lye soaked grain in 

Polenta is the Italian variant of cooked grain meal, which is probably of 
Neolithic or older origin and is found in most human cultures.  Maize 
polenta is eaten all over Italy, but it is most associated with northern 
Italy because that is the major maize growing region of the country.


> What effect does soaking a grain in lye have on it? When/where was
> this done in period Europe? I thought that polenta was mostly a
> northern Italian thing. Maybe they just didn't soak things in lye
> there, even if they did elsewhere.
> <<< I think thats a lot of
> grain splitting for a northerner who never remembers eating grits but
> cream of wheat was a breakfast stand by if one could not think of
> something less boring to eat. >>>
> Yes, I tend to find polentas, gruel, pottages to be rather bland and
> repetitious. I guess that's one advantage of not being a peasant in
> the SCA.
> Stefan

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