Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/34949
- The mysterious disappearance of maize: food compulsion and food choice in colonial New South Wales
- The University of Newcastle. Faculty of Education & Arts, School of Humanities and Social Science
- Maize, one of the world's most widely grown and eaten grains, is also one of its most controversial. Originating in Central America, its reception in other parts of the world was mixed—with some regional cultures embracing it as a staple while others reviled it as an inferior and even dangerous food. In the British penal colony of New South Wales, maize was readily grown and was incorporated into the rations issued to most colonists during the first decades of settlement but, over time, it came to be reserved for the worst of the convicts. With the ending of convict transportation in 1840, maize disappeared from the diet. Despite the suitability of the crop to local growing conditions, the loyal colonists sought to continue the foodways known in Britain. Indeed they were reluctant to incorporate what was still to them an identifiably foreign food, especially as maize retained connotations of the savage, the convict and the American. Potential variety, nutrition and efficiency in food production were sacrificed but the larger goal of perpetuating the best of Britain in the Antipodes was advanced.
- Food, Culture and Society Vol. 10, Issue 1, p. 109-130
- Berg Publishers
- Resource Type
- journal article