General Discussion

Max Makes Mamaliga--a question


General Discussion 5

Max Makes Mamaliga--a question

Loeb | Jan 16, 2002 05:46 PM

Max of Romania, age 87.5, came to our home and made us mamaliga (aka polenta, or Jewish grits). In preparation for his visit I consulted several Jewish cookbooks which recommended cooking the cornmeal for up to 1 hour, stirring frequently, and then cutting the finished product with a string. But when Max arrived--his bag filled with Goya corn meal(regular kind, not instant) and Bulgarian cheese (not kashkaval) to serve with it--and began to cook, the entire process took only 10 minutes. He gave us his special long wooden mamaliga spoon as a gift (what a perfect guest!).

So, here's the question. What gives with the "must cook for one hour" thing? Is it not considered true mamaliga by the cognoscenti unless you sweat over the cornmeal? If you cook it for an hour (Deborah Madison recommends catching up on your reading while stirring polenta) does it take another form other than the thick porridge we experienced? Was there a polenta post I missed that covered this question?

By the way, the stuff was solid when he finished, not liquidy, and had no lumps (Max uses the "scatter approach" to pouring the cornmeal).

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