Thursday, November 4, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday - Pure Corn

The Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota

Today in History: Native Americans presented Christopher Columbus with a gift of corn (aka maize) on November 5, 1492. He handed it off to Orville Redenbacher who set it too close to the campfire. The rest is history.

The word corn comes from the Old English word for grain which was used to describe wheat, barley and rye long before corn became known to the rest of the world.

But first - back to the back of the postcard: The postmark is difficult to see, but appears to be October 4, 1909 which makes it 101 years, 1 month and one day old today. There's some symmetry to that, don't you think?

While looking for picture postcards of ears or fields of corn I came across this treasure: The Corn Palace built in 1892 to celebrate the excellent soil and corn crops in South Dakota. All of the decoration and artwork on this building are made of corn. The upkeep runs about 130,000 a year. About the same as me.

More information about this interesting and corny monument can be found HERE. It's still open to the public and is used for events.

Bully! What do I have to do with corn?

Postcard message:

"Well, Mabel, I heard the band that plays for President (Theodore) Roosevelt at the White House. I sit and listened at it for 3 hours in the Palice. This Palice is made of corn. It is a wonderful sight to see. Am well, Anne"

The Corn Palace as it looks today

American Maize is a cereal grass and has been grown as a food crop in Mezoamerica since prehistoric times.

A drawing of the corn plant showing both the male and female flowers.

Between 1250 and 1700 the growing of corn spread across the Continent, and after the Europeans arrived corn was introduced to Europe and is grown there as well.

Indian Corn

The common word for maize became "corn", or sweet corn. Corn is a grain, but sweet corn is considered a fruit because of the high sugar content.

Corning, the term for preserving meat, (as in corned beef, yum) has to do with the grainy texture of the salt mixture used to brine meats. It also refers to granulated snow (corn snow) and a grain-like seed or fruit such as a peppercorn.

And let us not forget "corny" jokes:

A French fry walked into a bar and ordered a drink.

The Bartender said: Sorry, we don't serve food here.

Candy Corn

Cornucopia and a corn on your toe have nothing to do with this type of corn. These words come from the Latin word, cornu, for "horn"

A cornice around the edges of your ceiling is from the Old French meaning wreath.

Corniferous trees - well, that's not spelled correctly - it's coniferous.

The lovely blue cornflower got the name because it grew as a weed in corn (wheat and barley) fields in the UK. Seeds were brought to North America both on purpose as flower seeds and by mistake as seed a crop contaminant and soon spread across the Continent.

It was the favorite flower of John F. Kennedy and JFK Jr. wore them as a boutonniere at his wedding to honor his father.

CorningWare is named after the city where it was first produced: Corning, New York which is named for Erastus Corning. The original design on CorningWare was the little cornflower design for which it is known.

Cornflower reflecting the sky. Far too pretty to be just a weed.

Please stop by Beth's The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for more Postcard Friendship Friday Corn - I mean fun!

As always most of the information in this post results from an out of control train of thought process that leads me from one subject to another. I reference on-line (heavy on Wikipedia) and "on-hand" source material plus the vast wealth of completely useless trivia I have accumulated in me brain over the years. Pictures are unceremoniously and shamelessly lifted from flickr and Wikipedia.


Tricia McWhorter said...

What a fun post! I love the corn palace!

Cynthia Pittmann said...

So true, Cynthia, cornflower is more than a weed! Fun post! Informative and entertaining. We don't get that colorful corn in Puerto Rico unless it's imported. It must be a United States "thing"...all the beautiful fall details...pumpkins that are round and orange, red leaves, gourdes, either, though I saw them on my recent trip to Michigan. What fun memories. Thanks for sharing@

Lyneen said...

GREAT POST... love all the corny info... very entertaining. I think there is more to corn than we know!

Snap said...

Wonderful corny post. Happy PFF!

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I'm amazed at the Corn Palace, that it's lasted at all. Birds don't eat it? Mice? Amazing.

Bob of Holland said...

Amazingly informative post. Loved it, including the corny joke. Let your train of thoughts drive on. Happy PFF.

viridian said...

Muse et al:
the corn decoration is changed every year. I don't know if they have problems with birds or mice.
I have visited the corn palace. A county fair was happening outside and a polka dancing competition was happening inside the palace. true story!!

Funoldhag said...

What a fun and corny post! Never heard of the Corn Palace but it is awesome. You have a way with words. Carol

Dorincard said...

Hello, Cynthia, wordsmith emeritus!
You know I was born in Transilvania, Romania, right? :)

L. D. Burgus said...

I visited the palace in 1957. It was the end of the season and the birds were allowed to enjoy it all. I had a candy corn DOT today. It wasn't as good as real candy corn. Great post.