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"C" is for Corn

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Corn. This versatile grain has played an important role in the diet and economy of South Carolina since prehistory. Indians were growing maize (an ancestor of modern corn) in South Carolina before the first Europeans and Africans came. The newcomers quickly learned to cultivate corn. By the mid-eighteenth century, corn was the centerpiece of subsistence agriculture in South Carolina and the foundation of the colonial diet. Carolinians ate corn in some form at virtually every meal. Corn was consumed fresh as a vegetable; it was also ground into meal and baked or fried into various breads. As flour it was used to coat meats, vegetables, and fish for frying. Corn was rendered into syrup and distilled into whiskey. Hominy, a corn derivative, gave the American South its most beloved signature dish: grits.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.