The German word, Mais, which looks and sounds strangely familiar to the English word maize, which few people know or use.
The variety of this vegetable, actually a large grain plant was, according to Wikipedia, domesticated by indigenous people in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. Somehow, the plant arrived in Germany, where it has been used by farmers, until recently, to feed pigs. Perhaps because many Germans traveled abroad and encountered humans eating corn, some clever marketer introduced the eating variety. Many years ago, I tried to cook and eat an ear (after stealing one from a nearby farm), but discovered it to be tough and suitable for--well--pigs.
Now, I can enjoy a taste learned as a young boy and enjoyed only upon occasional visits to the land of my birth. I taught my children how to shuck ears of corn, when visiting my mother. They also learned to appreciate the taste of fresh corn with butter and salt. Neither the frozen variety or the pig variety comes close the the enjoyment.
And, to think, Coke is flavored with the stuff...
This is my tip of the hat to Thanksgiving, a celebration of harvest (at least according to myth).
Avid followers of this wonderful blog (ha!) might recall a photo some weeks ago, which showed a cornfield awaiting slaughter.
The below photo reveals the aftermath of said slaughter. At some point, the remains will be plowed under, allowed to endure winter precipitation and cold, and be planted next spring.
In Germany, most corn (maize) is used as cow feed. Machines grind up the entire plant--stalks, leaves, and cobs--and shoot them into waiting wagons. The mash is kept in silos, surely fermenting, and used throughout the window to feed pigs, who will ultimately end up as ham, bacon, Schiitzel (cutlets), and sausages.
Few people eat corn, but cinema pop corn is popular. Unlike in the United States, every product does not contain corn syrup.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.