Friday, January 28, 2011

Pinole: The Food, The Place and Its Most Toxic Export

The ancient way of making pinole
It seems somehow appropriate that the town of Pinole, California was named for a food staple - corn, pounded to a meal with rocks, mixed with herb. That recipe is being followed today by Pinole's most infamous ex-pat, only she uses self-cultivated weed to spice things up.

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Pinole: The Food

Pinole is a Mexican Spanish word for a coarse flour made from ground toasted maize kernels, often in a mixture with a variety of herbs and ground seeds, which can be eaten by itself or be used as the base for a beverage. The word derives from the Nahuatl word pinolli, which has the same meaning. In southeastern Mexico and in Central America this food and beverage is known as pinol or pinolillo, considered the national beverage of Nicaragua.

Herbs and flavorings added to pinole include ground mustard seeds, ground chia seeds, ground cacao, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, achiote, and other grasses and annual herbs. The mixture is sometimes beaten with water to make a hot or cold beverage (also called pinole), or sometimes cooked with water to make an edible mush.

In parts of central Mexico, groups of rowdy youths traditionally went from house to house during Carnival to demand pinole, which they were served without water (and frequently mixed with Chili pepper to make it even more difficult to swallow). This custom may have given rise to the popular saying, El que tiene más saliva, traga más pinole ("Whoever has the most saliva, swallows the most pinole.")

Recipes to make pinole and chia fresca (iskiate) to wash it down.

More haute cuisine from The Original Red Onion, 2870 Pinole Valley Rd., Pinole, Ca. 94564 510-223-6856 - Deep fried chops and gravy

Even Corkscrewed Green would eat this off a catering truck!
(But not with a fork...)
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Pinole: The Place

Native American settlement of the West Contra Costa shoreline began at least 5,000 years ago. The Pinole region was the territory of the Huchiun Indians, whose territory extended from Berkeley to somewhere between Rodeo and Crockett. ( more at city website )
Pinole, back in the day
On the city website, one can even "Watch a reenactment of the First Council Meeting (1903)."


[Pinole's got nothing on the City of Manteca. Here every city council meeting is identical to the last, going back to 1918 - and it ain't no reenactment, it's live.]

This'ere's where Pinole's chilun's larned ther ABC's, and tic-tac-toe's, and how to drive catering trucks:

Pinole School, back in the day
Lyin' Lynda's alma mater

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Pinole's Most Infamous and Toxic Export

Voted Most Likely to Become
- with a little TLC -

(Do I wonder why L/L is still listed as "missing"? No surprise. Just sayin'...)


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