A (corn) mushy post

Monday, February 9, 2009

"Polentone" ("pulentun" or "pulintù" in dialect) meaning "polenta eater" (literally "big polenta") is a derogatory term sometimes used by Southern Italians to refer to Northern Italians.

I am a huge fan of whole grains – and I’ve never met one I didn’t like. Prior to joining Weight Watchers in 2006, I don’t think I ever ate ANY, other than the occasional brown rice or maybe barley - if it was in soup. No wonder I got so fat. White flour. Ugh.

One of the most overlooked of the whole grains is polenta. It tastes so good it’s hard to believe it’s good for you. Well, unless you don’t like corn. Then it might not be so great.

Polenta is basically corn meal. Or corn mush, but that doesn’t really sound very appealing, so we’ll stick with corn meal. You can find it in the flour aisle of the grocery store where it’s available in either white or yellow. I don’t think there’s a difference; if I’m wrong, let me know. It looks like this:

Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a more progressive store near you, you can find it pre-made and ready to slice in a tube, like sausage:

And, out of the wrapper:

And holy cow – if you ever want to get a craving for all things polenta, do a Google image search. There’s some good-looking stuff out there! Like this one that made me wish I had a personal chef:

One of the nice things about polenta is that it can be used in both sweet or savory applications. I tend to eat it fried and topped with sugar-free maple syrup. Like a pancake. But you can also eat it with eggs, with spaghetti sauce, as a base for nachos and in lasagna, in place of the noodles!

Because I only have crappy stores in my immediate vicinity, I have never been able to use the pre-made polenta and have to resort to making it myself. Which is why I don’t eat it as often as I would like. (Lazy.)

Over on my Wiki, I have a ton of polenta recipes. I also have a lot of non-recipe uses for polenta that you can look at if you need to get an idea or two.

But try it. It’s delicious.


Bonnie said...

We love polenta and find it at any grocery around here. I usually get it at Wal-Mart where they have a spicy version. I never think to count it as a whole grain though. And for kids who love corn (don't most kids?), I think most will like polenta too. Now on to look at some recipes!

Camevil said...

Oh dear god, polenta is sooo good. I used to grill it in butter with some cheese. Oh my.

But, you know, I always shunned it after getting healthy again. Corn seems so evil--sugary, starchy and not much nutritional value. Yet, I keep forgetting it has fiber.

Anonymous said...

I love your site and will be visiting a lot to help me on my weight loss journey @ http://momontherise.com/weightrelease.

I am visiting from SITS. thank you for commenting on my site at momontherise.com

Krist Summer said...

I just tried polenta recently and loved it. Who would have knew.

lisalyn said...

Thanks for visiting my blog today.

I've not tried Polenta, but I should! :)

Kas said...

I guess I'm off to try polenta.

I always wondered what the big deal was. Rachel Ray goes crazy for it too... Now.. Getting DBF to try it will be another story...

Lisa M said...

not sure if Polenta tastes the same as friend cornmeal (not grits), but I eat my fried cornmeal with red wine vinegar. YUM.