Bumper crop

clampittWhat does America need? You probably have a long list. It might even include “a good five-cent cigar.

What does America NOT need? More corn. We’re swimming in corn. South America is swimming in corn. If there was an East America, its silos would be full and its crows obese.  The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) tells us that we sit in a perfect storm of corn. Farmers report record harvests at home, while imports from abroad have surged to create a veritable yellow tsunami. The story includes this rather amazing fact:

At the same time, we’re importing a lot of corn, because the cost of shipping by rail actually make it cheaper for many American livestock producers to bring in corn from South America than to ship it from other U.S. states.

Since we’re about to start bathing in high-fructose corn syrup, it’s wise to learn as much as you can about the crop behind today’s maize craze. Fortunately, UIP publishes the book America needs to make sense of the glut.

One of our most popular recent releases, Midwest Maize, tells the epic story of what happened when Mesoamerican farmers bred a nondescript grass into a staff of life so prolific, so protean, that it represents nothing less than one of humankind’s greatest achievements. Food historian Cynthia Clampitt leaves no ear un-shucked in writing the biography of a plant woven into the fabric of our diet, politics, economy, science, and cuisine.