The origins of corndateback to roughly 1000 to 2000 B.C.E. in Mexico. Corn, which is actually a member
of the grassfamily, was grown by NativeAmericanscenturiesbefore the firstEuropeanseversteppedfoot in the
New World. The cultivation of cornspreadamong the NativeAmericanpeoplesthroughoutmost of what is now
the U.S. and largeparts of SouthAmerica. The importance of corn to the NativeAmericans was reflected in the
numerousreligiousceremonies and mythssurrounding it. Corn, and by extensioncornbread, was alsoimportant to
the earlyAmericancolonists, sincecorn was moreavailablethanwheat at thattime.
The colonistslearned how to cultivate and preparecorn for foodfrom the NativeAmericans. Later, the
pioneerwomenthatmade the longtrekacross the nascentcountryaddedtheir own cookingtechniques.
Cornbread was of particularimportance to travelers, because it keptwell and providednourishmentduring the
longjourneys on foot or by horsebackthroughvirginterritory. Cornbreadevenbecameknown as journeycake at
thistime. Journeycakebecamejohnnycake, the name by whichcornbread is stillknown to this day by manypeople on the eastcoast. Earlysettlersalsomadecornmeal, which is basicallyflourgroundfromdriedcorn. It is a
commonstaplefoodeven now. Cornmeal is veryversatile, and the kinds of breadthathavebeen and can be made
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fromcornmeal are virtuallyendless.
In the past, production of corn was veryindividual, withmostsouthernfarmersgrowingjustenoughcorn to
feedtheirlivestock and themselves. When the farmersneededcornmeal, theyvisitedtheirlocalmills. Thesemills,
whichusedlargestonewheels to grind the corn, werelocatednearrivers and othersources of water, because the
wheelswereinitiallypowered by water. Hydropower was laterreplaced by gasoline or electricity. The farmerspaid the miller for the use of his mill by giving him a percentage of the cornmealproduced, which in turn, the
millersold to the localtownspeople. As the production of cornmealbecameincreasinglyindustrialized, the millsgraduallybecameobsolete. Today, mostcornmeal is produced in factories, where it is alsobolted and fortifiedwithvitamins and minerals, likemostrefinedflours.
Interestingly, eachpart of the countrydeveloped its own regionalspecialties and exhibited a bias for a
certaintype of cornmeal. Northernerspreferredyellowcornmeal, usingflintyellowcornmeal in theircornbread.
Alternatively, southernersliked to use whitecornmeal to maketheircornbread. Eachregionalsodiffered in its
preparation of cornbread. Northernerslike a sweeterversion of cornbread, addingmolasses to the batter, whilesouthernerspreferred the savoryversionthatresultedwhen the cornbread was fried in cracklings. The steelgroundyellowcornmealcommonlyfound in the northernpart of the U.S. is produced by almostcompletelystripping the
husk and germfrom the maturemaizekernel and grindingwhatremains of the kernel. The resultingproductwillkeepalmostindefinitely if sealedtightly and stored in a cool dry place, because it no longercontains the naturaloilsthatwilloxidize and becomerancid.
Cornbread is muchmoreconsumed in the South, owing to the factthatwheat did not grow as well in the
warmerclimate of the southernstates. In addition to thesenaturalforces, the use of cornmeal in the South was
likelygivenfurtherimpetusduring the Civil War, when it becameimpossible to procurewheatsuppliesfrom the
North. Hence, cornbreadbecamepopularduring the Civil War because it was verycheap and could be made in
manydifferentsizes and forms. It was also a commonlunch for poorchildren as late as in the mid 20th century. It
is still a commonsidedish, oftenservedwithhomemadebutter, chunks of onion or scallions. Sometimes,
cornbread is crumbled and servedwithcoldmilksimilar to coldcereal in the South. Sometimes, cornbreadtakes
on a distinctlocalflavor. For example, in Texas, the Mexicaninfluence has spawned a heartycornbreadmadewithfresh or creamedcornkernels, jalapeño peppers and toppedwithshreddedcheese.
【題組】78. The wordobsolete in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to which of the followingword/expression?
(A) trendy (B) unprofitable (C) isolated (D) outmoded