Not the same old grind

I’m telling y’all about this now that I’ve already gotten my stash. I’ve made the mistake before of singing the praises of a food I love, then finding that my adoring public has rushed out and bought it all up. But you’re not completely out of luck – another time will come.

I’m talking about the cornmeal from Yates Mill in Raleigh. The park around it is lovely and the restored mill has grindings using the old stones. You can get a tour on grinding days and purchase white or yellow cornmeal. Mark your calendars for March, when the grindings will resume.

The cornmeal is “unbolted,” which means it hasn’t been sifted. You definitely need to sift it before using – about a tablespoon’s worth of husk bits sift out of a cup. Folks at the mill tell me that, because it is stone ground, there is an off chance a whole kernel may slip in. Because the cornmeal contains the entire corn kernel, it has a wonderful texture and grittiness. I think it tastes “cornier” than most other cornmeal as well. I’m not the only one who has fallen in love with this cornmeal. At last December’s holiday sale, the person in line in front of me bought 12 bags, temporarily depleting the supply. This year, I pre-ordered before last weekend’s sale. (You can also order online.)

Because the cornmeal is fresh and has no preservatives, store it in the refrigerator. I place the sacks in plastic bags and freeze them, too. So I have loaded up. While I was there, a fellow shopper asked me about the difference between white and yellow cornmeal (besides the obvious). I think it’s mainly a matter of personal preference. Some people consider white to be more refined while others like the color that yellow brings. I think the yellow meal from Yates Mill may have a bit stronger corn flavor, but both make cornbread that goes mighty good with vegetable soup on a winter night.

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