The Florentine Codex: A Critical Analysis
By: Stephen J. Byrne
Bernardino de Sahagun’s General History of the Things of New Spain, also known as the Florentine Codex, is a monumental work dealing with the history of the Native American Aztec people of Mexico. The Aztecs actually referred to themselves as the Mexica, thence the name of the modern nation of Mexico. Sahagun, a Franciscan monk, completed his work on the History in 1569, just forty-eight years after the conquest of the Mexica by the Spaniards.

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Native American Agriculture and Modern Italian Cuisine
By Stephen J. Byrne
Three of the main food products consumed as a major part of modern Italian cuisine were imported from America as a result of the European exploration of America which began in the late fifteenth century. These three important elements of Italian cuisine are the tomato, the potato and corn. Corn was the first Native American crop to be widely used in Italy for making polenta in the sixteenth century. Corn was preferred by Italians over earlier grain versions of polenta because of its high crop yield and its superior flavor. The early versions of corn polenta were a primary food of the general population in Northern Italy. It did not take on its status as a gourmet creation until the twentieth century and of course on into the twenty-first century.

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