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I made a "feta herb loaf" from a cookbook with recipes of a British author. The recipe called for "polenta". So I made some polenta by boiling water and mixing in the cornmeal, and stirring until it was the consistency of a thick pudding. I added my polenta to the ingredients. It looked a little wet when I put it in the oven. It still looked wet when I took it out. It was not edible. Is "polenta" the same thing in the U.K. and in the U.S.?

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One can make polenta in any imaginable thickness. Thick pudding is completely within the normal range, and I have had polentas as thin as raw egg white. Why was it not edible in your case? Was it just that you expected the hard kind and it came out soft? Also, did you use the kind of cornflour specified by the recipe (fine vs. thick)? It is probably not so important in the thick pudding range, but when it is liquid enough that you can't heap it in the spoon, it feels strange if made with coarse cornflour. –  rumtscho Jul 24 '13 at 20:36
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Did the original recipe call for prepared polenta? It may have required the dry meal instead of cooked polenta. –  sourd'oh Jul 24 '13 at 20:44
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I am willing to bet that the recipe called for, essentially, cornmeal. Cornmeal is in general less common in the UK than the States and is usually found in the form of polenta in Italian recipes. –  ElendilTheTall Jul 24 '13 at 20:48
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Corn meal is sold as polenta in the UK. It is sold in fine and coarse grades, however I've found that even the course grade is not as coarse as typical US corn meal, so you'll want to buy a finer US grade as a replacement, but it is the same thing.

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