April 4, 2005
Steve, Don't Eat It! Vol. 7
Cuitlacoche is a black fungus that infects corn fields, making the kernels bulbous and swollen as they fill with spores. It also goes by the name Huitlacoche. If you're having trouble with the pronounciation, it's: Cuitlacoche (kweet-lah-KOH-chay) or Huitlacoche (dat-sfuckin-NAS-tee).
It's safe to say this is the first time I've ever paid for an infection. I am, of course, not counting the one I got from your mother. (YES! You walked right into that.)
I've read that U.S. farmers consider it a disease and destroy it. Farmers in Mexico put it in cans and sell it as a delicacy. I travelled far and wide to find my own precious can of Cuitlacoche. Okay, it was at my supermarket, but I had to drive like two miles to get there and got stuck at a couple of lights.
Enough chit-chat. I'm gonna go dine on a can of disease. But before I do, I really do feel bad about that cheap mother joke. My sincere apologies to you and your lovely mom. (The filthy whore.) Be right back!
Oh, sweet Christ. Visually, I think the bar for Steve, Don't Eat It! is about to be set at a new low. So I'm going to ease you people into this one. Let's begin with a single spore-filled kernel before we examine the entire contents.
The following picture is a swear-to-God-unretouched-side-by-side comparison of a normal kernel of corn and an infected huitlacoche kernel, both from the same can.
These results can also be achieved by bombarding a kernel of corn with gamma rays and then making it angry. (But be warned. You won't like it when it's angry.)
Alright, you've waited long enough.
Presenting the entire can of imported sludge (that I was actually charged money for)...
Don't worry, I checked the ingredients before I tasted it. "Smoker's lung" was not on there.
Before I even got the whole can open, I detected a vague aroma of sweet corn, along with what I can only describe as a deep musky funk. Put 'em together and it smells like corn that forgot to wipe.
In just a single serving, you'll experience a wide array of textures. Without getting too gross, it's because the disease is more advanced in some kernels than others. One bite might be kinda chewy, while the next might burst in your mouth like a black pus-filled blister. (Whoops, forgot about the not-too-gross thing. Oh well. Nuts to you!)
So, how does Huitlacoche taste? Does it matter?? LOOK AT IT!
I guess it would be fair to say it doesn't taste as truly horrible as it looks. The flavor is elusive and difficult to describe, but I'll try: "Kinda yucky." Hey, that wasn't so hard after all. (Sometimes I forget I'm a goddamn wordsmith.)
For any connoisseurs, I'm not sure if this stuff would go better with red wine or white. How about with a bottle of Bactine? I've always found that goes great with infections.
Huitlacoche also goes by some other names. It's frequently called Maize Mushroom, Corn Smut, and Mexican Truffle. I've even heard it referred to as "Devil Poop"-- but that was only after I said it. (For God's sake, it comes with little bits of corn already in it! Talk about a time-saver.)
I thought it was interesting that Monteblanco chose to make their company logo the focal point of the can. I also found a can of huitlacoche from Goya. They, too, have downplayed the visuals by hiding it in a mild-mannered burrito.
I went ahead and made a new can label for the gang back at Cuitlacoche Central. As always, this is a free service.
Well, that brings us to the end of a long overdue Steve, Don't Eat It! And now I have a belly full of diseased corn. Maybe I should go see a doctor about a penicillin shot.
For your mom. (YES! In your face! Oh man...)
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