Corn is the backbone of New Mexican cuisine. Tortillas, tacos, posole, chips, tamales… the list goes on. But corn is everywhere nowadays – according to the National Corn Growers Association, the average American consumes about 25lbs of it each year. So the quality of that corn is particularly important, especially as most of it nowadays is genetically modified (GMO.) We prefer to serve real corn that is non GMO.
We get our tortillas, posole, masa for tamales, and blue and white corn chips, from La Mexicana in Albuquerque. Owned and operated by Margy and Tony Hernandez, La Mexicana is a multi-generational business and the oldest corn tortilla maker in Albuquerque. They’ve actually been in business continuously since Tony’s grandfather started out in 1932! Their corn comes from another family owned company, Sunny State Products, in San Jon, New Mexico (www.sunnystateproducts.com). La Mexicana uses only non GMO corn. Much of the blue corn Sunny State grows is a unique variety developed by Leo Thrasher, owner of Sunny State products.
Believe it or not, La Mexicana’s day begins at 3.00am, fulfilling orders which are then packaged for delivery the following day. The corn is made in to nixtamal the traditional way; the corn is first soaked, then cooked, in a lime solution, enhancing both the flavor and the nutritional value of the corn. The nixtamal is then made in to tortillas, chips, and masa. And, of course, no additives or preservatives are used in any of their products.
We, at Tomasita’s and the Atrisco Cafe, aim to provide food that is healthy, natural and chemical-free. And that’s why we’re committed to non-GMO corn wherever possible, grown the way Mother Nature intended and why we source our products from families in New Mexico who feel the same way.
(Note that while we strive to serve non GMO ingredients, we are not certified as a GMO free facility, and we cannot guarantee that 100% of our ingredients will be GMO-free.)
So now you know the back story of our corn…
THE ORIGIN OF CORN AND OTHER CROPS
Native American Myth
After man was created, he was lonely, so the Creator gave him a sister to keep him company. The man dreamed that five spirits would visit his sister and would want to marry her. In the dream, he was told that she should reject the first four and marry the fifth suitor.
The first four to arrive were Tobacco, Squash, Melon and Bean. On being rejected by the girl, each one fell down dead. The fifth and final suitor was Mandamin, or Corn. The girl took him for her husband and he then buried the other four. From their bodies grew tobacco, squash, melons and beans. All Indian people are descended from the marriage of the Indian girl and Corn.
Many pueblos perform corn dances, open to the public, from May to November. They include the following:
Taos, Santa Ana, Santa Domingo, Zia, Sandia, Tesuque, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Isleta, San Juan, Cochiti and Santa Clara.
Do call the main office of each pueblo, ahead of time, to confirm dates and to learn the rules for visitor etiquette and the taking of pictures. These apply specifically to each individual pueblo.