Monday, January 21, 2019


Cynthia Clampitt presents "How Corn Changed Itself and then Changed Everything Else"

Event date: 5/20/2018 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Export event
Elaine Evans
/ Categories: Events

Cynthia Clampitt presents "How Corn Changed Itself and then Changed Everything Else"

Sterling-Rock Falls Historical Society

About 10,000 years ago, a weedy grass growing in Mexico possessed of a strange trait known as a “jumping gene” transformed itself into a larger and more useful grass—the cereal grass that we would come to know as maize and then corn. Nurtured by early farmers in the Oaxaca region, this grain would transform the Americas even before First Contact. After First Contact, it would span the globe, with mixed results, but for newcomers to North America, it expanded its influence from rescuing a few early settlers to creating the Midwest. Today, it is more important than ever. As Margaret Visser noted in her classic work Much Depends on Dinner, “Without corn, North America—and most particularly modern, technological North America—is inconceivable.”

Cynthia Clampitt is a writer and food historian. A fourth generation foodie, Clampitt has always considered food a topic worth studying. She has pursued her love of culture, history, and food in thirty-seven countries on six continents (so far). She began writing about food history in 1996 and joined Culinary Historians of Chicago in 1999. She is the author of Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland, published by the University of Illinois Press. In addition to CHC, she is a member of the Society of Women Geographers, the Agricultural History Society, and the history section of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

More info at

Lincoln Learning Center
611 East Third Street 
Sterling, IL 61081 (Map

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