I full well know that Jews were not the first to come up with this cornmeal dish, but among my earliest memories of my youth in Montevideo, Uruguay – from various relatives with Romanian spouses – was the aroma, the taste of Mamaliga (which some pronounced: mammelige) I full well know that Mamaliga is not even a Yiddish name, yet there was also something very Jewish about the word, at least to my childhood mind, especially so, since my Italian friends’ mothers would call it polenta.
Elizabeth Wolf Cohen, in her Perfect Jewish, gives us the following recipe on page 154:
Romanian Mamaliga with Cheese
Serves 6 – 8
Cornmeal, made from maize was introduced to Europe from the newly discovered Americas in the 16th century. Known as polenta in Italy, cornmeal became so popular in Romania that it was eaten as a porridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal or polenta
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 cups water
- 4 tablespoons butter or pareve margarine
- 1 cup cottage cheese, drained and strained