Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

posole the current and Spanish name for the Aztec pozolli, an important maize-based beverage of the Maya in classic Maya times (see maya food), among the later Aztec, and still in modern times.

The maize used to make it was ground once only (compared with the two grindings needed for tortillas), then mixed with water to make a dough which would keep for months in a container reserved for the purpose or wrapped in leaves that had been used for wrapping a previous batch of sour posole. Thus there would be present the right assembly of bacteria, yeasts, and moulds to sour the new batch. The soured dough has been found to have very good nutritional qualities. It was and is diluted with water to make the beverage. This was evidently a standard refreshment, since the Chamula, when bearing a corpse to the cemetery, filled the mouth of the dead person with posolli on the grounds that the standard remedy for a tiring journey was to sit by the side of the road and drink posolli.