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Old English polente, from Latin pollenta, polenta, literally "peeled barley," related to pollen "fine flour," from Proto-Indo-European *pel- (1) "flour; dust" (see pollen). Later reborrowed from Italian polenta, from the Latin word.
a porridge or mush usually made of ground corn (maize) cooked in salted water. Cheese and butter or oil are often added. Polenta can be eaten hot or cold as a porridge; or it can be cooled until firm, cut into shapes, and then baked, toasted, panfried, or deep-fried. It is a traditional food of northern Italy, especially the Piedmont region, and of Corsica, where chestnut flour is used in place of cornmeal. Polenta is also sometimes made from barley meal