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Maize (Corn)

Maize, or Corn, is native to the Americas. As far as is known, maize arrived in Africa sometime after the early 1500's. It quickly spread and is now common throughout the continent. In Africa, maize is often ground into meal (mealie-meal) which is then made into Fufu-like staples such as Fufu, Banku & Kenkey, Nshima, Ugali, and Sadza, that are eaten with sauces, soups, and stews. In Eastern Africa it is used in Irio. Boiled corn is sometimes prepared at home. Grilled corn on the cob, Maïs grillé in French-speaking Africa, is often available from street-vendors as a sort of African fast food.

maize in malawi

What you need

What you do -- Corn on the Cob can be grilled or boiled.

Grilled corn-on-the-cob topped with ground cayenne pepper (red pepper), salt, and lemon juice, often sold by street vendors, is popular in Swahili-speaking areas of Eastern Africa.

Corn or Grain?

In olden times the English word corn was often used as a synonym for grain. Thus, in many historical documents, wheat is the corn of Europe. When the English first came to the Americas, they used the words Indian corn to refer to the Native American Maize they saw. In Africa, Kaffir Corn or Kafir Corn was a common term for the native varieties of millet.

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Congo Cookbook recipes using Maize

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African Proverbs

Onile ndze eso gbingbindo ; aledzo ni ki a se on li owo kan ewa. (Yoruba) : (Though) the host may be living on wild beans, the guest expects a handful of boiled corn. N.B. -- Mr. Crowther translates "gbingbindo" by a "tree, found near the water, whose fruit is eaten only in time of famine," and says that the proverb applies to those who are unreasonable in their demands.
  (from: Wit and Wisdom from West Africa, Richard Francis Burton)

Ni igba ti agbe ba ndi abo oka, ino re a don ; nikpa abo oka ni yangidi owo iti wah. (Yoruba) : When the farmer is tying up corn-sheaves he rejoices ; from bundles of corn come bundles of money. (ibid)

Other African proverbs

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