But of course, I got stuck on a small food reference he made. Cornflour cookies. In the post-apocalyptic word, the outside environment is toxic and lethal within 30 minutes of exposure, even in a protective suit. So all that remains of society lives in a 150-story underground silo. They grow their food in hydroponic gardens, using dirt created from the composting morgue. Not exactly Napa Valley, but hey, you make do with what you have, right? At any rate, a character in the book sends along a rare treat, cookies! But made of cornflour.
Cornflour, or cornmeal, makes sense in the Wool environment. If you have a limited amount of space, corn is a wonderfully diverse and rich plant that can fulfill tons of needs, with a production versus growing space ratio that wheat and other grains just can't match. And just think of all the things they make from corn today: corn starch for thickening, corn oil, corn syrup, fermented into ethanol, the husks as an abrasive...they even make chalk out of corn! Almost as frightening as the idea of a morgue dirt farm.
Brisner's Best Corn Meal, which is an authentic, old fashioned meal made from new, local, roasted corn and probably the best I've had on the market.
|Photo from http://www.haldemanmills.com|
At the end of the day, with 30 odd little cookies in front of me, I was happy. They were soft, sweet, and gummy, with a light taste of vanilla and roasted cornmeal. I can't say they were the greatest cookie ever, but they felt real, and like a very honest, regional recipe someone might come up with if they actually did want to make a simple dessert with severe limitations on their diet and ingredients.