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Woman pounding corn

Woman pounding corn

Black and white photograph of an American Indian woman pounding corn with a large mortar and pestle. Maize, which the Europeans came to call “corn,” has an ancient and interesting history and plays central roles in many native myths and legends. Its most important practical use was as meal. To make meal, harvested maize was dried and then stored. As needed, the natives, and later Europeans, too, used a mortar and pestle like this to grind, or “pound,” the dried kernels into a powder that could be baked to make a variety of breads or soaked to make grits. Mortars and pestles, which were commonly called “corn pounders,” were used so frequently that they were usually kept by the front door.

Woman pounding corn
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