In America, the only people who have heard of corn smut are corn farmers. It is a pathogenic fungus that swells and distorts corn into large blueish-black kernels, and usually gets fed to the pigs. The USDA has spent considerable time and money eradicating corn smut. South of the border, throughout Mexico, the same fungus is an ancient delicacy. Since the days of the Aztecs, it has been deliberately inoculated by cutting the stalks so that the water-borne fungus would infect the corn, promoting the development of the highly valued corn smut. It is called by the ancient Nahuatl name, huitlacoche, which means "raven's shit." Ears of corn infected with this dark colored fungus nearly quadruple the value of the corn. It takes on a rich, earthy flavor, retaining notes of the original sweetness of corn, but with far more complexity. When simmered with garlic and chiles, or made into a mole, the corn smut is often served on quesadillas or tamales. Maybe corn smut and raven's shit are not the most inticing monikers, which is why some American chefs are trying the term Mexican truffle! Whatever you call it, don't just throw it to the pigs, find out what the Aztec kings were so excited about.