Until 1851 cornflour, or cornstarch as it is known in the U.S, was primarily used for industrial processes, rather than cooking.
Thomas Kingsford, an American baker, first invented “cornstarch” in 1842 when he discovered a way to isolate tissue from corn kernels while working in a wheat starch factory in New Jersey.
Cornstarch was not originally used in food
However, Kingsford didn’t have food in mind—for the first few years of its existence, cornstarch was used to starch laundry.
And then, in Paisley, in 1854, in the lowlands of Scotland, John Polson made a transformative discovery.
His company, which previously manufactured muslin, worked out how to produce pure culinary starch from maize.
Brown & Polson began producing starch and cornflour on a large scale in the 1860s.
So, cornflour – not, actually, corn flour, for that’s been around for millennia to make tacos etc, but cornstarch – is actually, as a food ingredient, Scottish?
Weird bit of globalisation that is…..