I have always thought of maizena as the secret domain of older women. As a child, I remember always wanting my mother to make maizena and feeling exceedingly happy whenever she did. It felt like a special treat! I have always thought of it as the "queen" of the breakfast harinas. It is certainly a gendered food, for I hardly ever hear men (certainly not in my house), craving the sweet gentleness a spoon of maizena releases on the taste buds. I have often eaten maizena at grandmother and great-grandmother's house and I think of it as sacred food made by women who have fed children and who pass down a taste of something essentially safe and warming about being human. There is something soothing and uniquely motherly about maizena. And so it comes as no surprise that I finally learned to make maizena (approved and remarked upon as excellent from my female kin: mom & Carlos' great-granny), after giving birth to Khalil. Maizena requires a little patience, but it is truly simple to make. Here is my full-proof recipe (no need to give birth to make it, I promise!)
-Corn Starch (Maizena)
-Milk (almond, soy, or coconut)
-Sugar & salt
What to do?
Place 1 cup of milk (i like almond milk) in a saucepan in medium heat, add vanilla (1 teaspoon), cinnamon (1 teaspoon), a pinch of salt, sugar (1 tablespoon). Let it all heat up together until it boils gently, then set it to low. In a separate bowl or cup, add 1/4 cup of milk, then add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, mix together well until the powder dissolves into the milk (for best results use a fork to mix and break up any clumps of powder). When powder has dissolved into milk, add the milk powder to the hot milk in saucepan, mix vigorously together until it thickens.
Serve warm. You can add a spoon of butter to it or eat as is. Either way it is delicious!