What to do when the (corn) chips are down

Corn future looks dark; walletpop
Corn future looks dark; walletpop

Recently, the news has featured dozens of stories about the rising cost of corn. As a combination of the corn lobby and a few shortsighted policymakers have more or less decided that corn-based ethanol is the solution to all our energy problems, more and more of the precious crop has been diverted into making fuel.

In the meantime, it's not like corn was a really underused crop. Corn is not only the basis of most animal feed, but it also goes into a startling array of foods, often in the shape of its evil twin, high fructose corn syrup. HFCS, the Darth Vader of food additives, is in most sodas, most breads, almost all processed snack foods, and even in pickles. I kid you not; Claussen recently started putting it in with their Kosher dills. Bastards.

And, if this wasn't enough, there are always those freaks, myself and Mexico included, who consume corn in a relatively natural form. I enjoy it off the cob, in cornbread, or in chips, while Mexico seems to prefer tostadas, tamales, and tortillas. Unfortunately, back in the 1990's, NAFTA undermined Mexico's corn industry with a flood of cheap, subsidized American corn. Last year, amid the first real push for ethanol, corn prices went through the roof and Mexico found itself barely able to afford its most important staple.