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On this day( several days late) ten years ago …
via New Mexico’s Oldest House Serves Authentic New Mexico Cusine

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Just a quick post wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas and New Year.

One of The benifits of life in New Mexico at Christmas is the the Luminaries displayed on the Holiday.

From Wikipedia :

Traditional Christmas Eve luminarias are said to originate from Spaniard merchants. They were impressed with the Paper lanterns from the Chinese culture and decided to make their own version when they returned to New Spain; particularly during the Christmas season. They decided to use more “hearty” materials.[3] Traditionally, luminarias are made from brown paper bags weighted down with sand and illuminated from within by a lit candle. These are typically arranged in rows to create large and elaborate displays. The hope among Roman Catholics is that the lights will guide the spirit of the Christ child to one’s home.
In recent times they are seen more as a secular decoration, akin to Christmas lights. Strings of artificial luminarias, with plastic bags illuminated by small light bulbs and connected by an electrical cord, are also available, and are common in the American Southwest, where they are typically displayed throughout the year-end holiday season. These are beginning to gain popularity in other parts of the United States.[4]
Santa Fe and Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico, are well known for their impressive Christmas Eve farolito displays.[5] Farolito displays are common throughout New Mexico, and most communities in New Mexico have farolitos in prominent areas such as major streets or parks. Residents often line their yards, fences, sidewalks, and roofs with farolitos. Similar traditions can now also be found in many other parts of the nation.

Christmas Eve you can drive or walk around Old Town or the country club neighborhood of Albuquerque and enjoy the lights and decorations from this yearly tradition.

The photos are a bit dark but you will get the idea.

My best to all! Thank you for your interest and support of my blog .

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After it was first domesticated from the wild teosinte grass in southern Mexico, maize, or corn, took both a high road and a coastal low road as it moved into what is now the U.S. Southwest, reports an international research team that includes a UC Davis plant scientist and maize expert.

The study, based on DNA analysis of corn cobs dating back over 4,000 years, provides the most comprehensive tracking to date of the origin and evolution of maize in the Southwest and settles a long debate over whether maize moved via an upland or coastal route into the U.S.

Study findings, which also show how climatic and cultural impacts influenced the genetic makeup of maize, will be reported Jan. 8 in the journal Nature Plants.

The study compared DNA from archaeological samples from the U.S. Southwest to that from traditional maize varieties in Mexico, looking for genetic similarities that would reveal its geographic origin.

“When considered together, the results suggest that the maize of the U.S. Southwest had a complex origin, first entering the U.S. via a highland route about 4,100 years ago and later via a lowland coastal route about 2,000 years ago,” said Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra, an associate professor in the Department of Plant Sciences.

The study further provided clues to how and when maize adapted to a number of novel pressures, ranging from the extreme aridity of the Southwest climate to different dietary preferences of the local people.

Excavations of multiple stratigraphic layers of Tularosa cave in New Mexico allowed researchers to compare genetic data from samples from different time periods.

“These unique data allowed us to follow the changes occurring in individual genes through time,” said lead author Rute Fonseca of the University of Copenhagen. Researchers used these data to identify genes showing evidence of adaptation to drought and genes responsible for changes in starch and sugar composition leading to the development of sweet corn, desired for cultivation by indigenous people and later Europeans.

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The international team of authors also included Bruce D. Smith of the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution and M. Thomas P. Gilbert, University of Copenhagen. The study was funded primarily by the Danish Council for Independent Research and a Marie Sk?owdowska-Curie fellowship from the European Commission.

About UC Davis:

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

Original article:
January 8, 2015

eurekalert.com

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Chiles are an ancient food, New Mexico Chiles are a vital product of a cuisine unique to the state.Please support the chili growers in New Mexico if you are able.

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) – The green chile peppers roasting aromatically outside an Albuquerque supermarket are perhaps New Mexico’s most famed and recognizable product.

But these pungent palate pleasers are under threat from shrinking harvests and tough competition from foreign imports.

“It’s the essence of New Mexico,” said Shawn Barela, a lover of chile peppers just having made a five-hour round trip to Hatch, a village in Dona Ana County world renown for the quality of its chile.

“It’s got a unique taste you can’t find anyplace else,” Barela said, watching a store clerk turn a large metal drum to roast one of the two 40-pound sacks of green chiles he had brought back with him.

The annual chile festival in Hatch, which has fewer than 2,000 residents, is an exuberant affair that each Labor Day draws 10 times that number of visitors.

September is marked by the aroma of roasting chile in supermarket parking lots and on backyard grills throughout New Mexico. Locals bring peppers to rotate in large barrels over a propane flame, slowly darkening the skin from green to light brown in a process that not only brings out their flavor but helps preserve the chiles for freezing and use in meals for much of the rest of the year.

Year-round sunshine in the southern part of the state, combined with nutrient rich soil in the Hatch Valley, make home-grown chiles the finest in the world, locals say.

But few like to talk about the diminishing crop. The size of the New Mexico chile pepper harvest shrank by more than 40 percent over the last decade, from nearly 110,000 tons in 2004 to some 65,000 tons in 2013, according to the U.S. and New Mexico Departments of Agriculture.

The crop’s value also has seen a sharp decline. In 2012, New Mexico chile farmers brought in a total of $65.4 million, compared with last year’s estimated $49.5 million.

“I don’t think we’ll ever stop growing chile here on a small level, but our nationwide market is definitely endangered,” said Jaye Hawkins, administrator at the New Mexico Chile Association, which advocates on behalf of local growers.

HOT COMPETITION

Hawkins attributed the beginning of the local crop’s decline to the North American Free Trade Agreement in the mid 1990s which flooded the market with Mexican chile.

Rival growers in nations such as China, India and Peru also benefit from lower labor and production costs.

A local ties a ristra to dry chile peppers in Hatch, New Mexico in an undated photo provided by the …
“These are really large challenges that make it difficult for us to compete,” Hawkins said.

More than 4,000 full-time and thousands of part-time seasonal workers are employed in chile farming in New Mexico. Hawkins said she feared for their future if the competition from overseas heats up.

About 82 percent of chile peppers consumed in the United States are now imported, and producers in New Mexico have had to fight to make their brand stand apart – in much the way farmers label “Florida” oranges or “California” grapes.

In 2012, the state legislature signed into law the New Mexico Chile Advertising Act, which prohibits marketing peppers produced in other states as authentic New Mexico chile.

The law, enforced by the state’s Department of Agriculture, requires restaurants to post prominently that the chile peppers used in their meals were grown elsewhere.

Failure to comply can result in a “stop sale” order, and Hawkins estimated that nearly two dozen summonses have been issued so far.

“This helps us raise awareness that chile advertised as being from New Mexico is actually from New Mexico,” she said. “It helps bring the brand back.”

(Reporting by Joseph Kolb; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Jill Serjeant and Gunna Dickson)

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Topic: Chocolate

They were humble farmers who grew corn and dwelt in subterranean pit houses. But the people who lived 1200 years ago in a Utah village known as Site 13, near Canyonlands National Park in Utah, seem to have had at least one indulgence: chocolate. Researchers report that half a dozen bowls excavated from the area contain traces of chocolate, the earliest known in North America. The finding implies that by the end of the 8th century C.E., cacao beans, which grow only in the tropics, were being imported to Utah from orchards thousands of kilometers away.

The discovery could force archaeologists to rethink the widely held view that the early people of the northern Southwest, who would go on to build enormous masonry “great houses” at New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon and create fine pottery, had little interaction with their neighbors in Mesoamerica. Other scientists are intrigued by the new claim, but also skeptical.

The new research is “exciting, no doubt. … Archaeologists have been looking for Mesoamerican connections to the Southwest for 100 years,” says Robert Hard of the University of Texas, San Antonio, who specializes in the archaeology of the Southwest and was not involved in the new study. But, he says, “I’m not convinced this is chocolate.”

The findings stem from collaboration between Dorothy Washburn, an archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, and her husband William Washburn, a chemist at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, New Jersey. In an earlier study, they detected evidence of cacao in pottery from 11th century burial sites in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon and in vessels from other Southwestern sites. As a follow-up, the scientists tested bowls excavated in the 1930s from Site 13, which dates to roughly 770 C.E.

The researchers swirled water in the bowls, then analyzed the compounds in the rinse water with a high-resolution liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometer, an instrument that separates the components of a mixture and then determines the mass of each. They found traces of theobromine and caffeine, both found in cacao, in nearly every Site 13 bowl they tested. They also found the telltale molecules in vessels from other villages close to Site 13 and from two Colorado villages. Site 13’s cacao is the oldest in North America, eclipsing the Chaco chocolate by some 300 years. Humanity’s cacao habit dates back to at least 1900 B.C.E to 1500 B.C.E., when Mexico’s Mokaya people were already enjoying a chocolate drink.

In Mesoamerica, cacao was mostly a food of the elite, who sipped a foamy chocolate drink, often spiked with spices, at banquets and other ceremonial occasions. But an 8th century village such as Site 13 probably would have been classless, so the chocolate would’ve been consumed by ordinary people.

Villagers might have drunk it primarily for its nutritional value, rather than for ritual reasons, the researchers say in a paper in press at the Journal of Archaeological Science. Or, as Aztec warriors did, villagers could have taken cakes of maize and cacao on trips, reconstituting the cakes with water to make an early version of instant hot chocolate.

The results, combined with the team’s earlier findings, show that “either a lot of people moved north or there was intensive trade bringing this cacao up” from Mesoamerica to the American Southwest, Dorothy Washburn says. “There’s this incredible and sustained contact between these two areas.”

Until now, the only known imports from Mesoamerica into the northern Southwest were limited quantities of parrots, copper bells, and a few other items, says Washington State University, Pullman, archaeologist William Lipe, a specialist on the Southwest. Most researchers think the cultural development of the Southwest was largely independent of Mesoamerican influences, he says, but a chocolate-drenched Southwest implies that Mesoamerica’s influence on Southwestern architecture and rituals might have been greater than expected.

Other researchers, though tantalized, are also cautious, precisely because the new study and the authors’ previous research have found so much chocolate. If cacao were so common, there would be stories or visual references or historical references to it, writes Ben Nelson, of Arizona State University, Tempe, who studies the ancient cultures of northern Mexico and the American Southwest, in an e-mail.

Archaeologist Michael Blake, who studies agriculture in the Americas, casts doubt on the paper’s suggestion that Site 13 residents may have consumed chocolate as a source of nutrition, either at home or on the road. By the time cacao got to the American Southwest, it would’ve been “scarce, prized, and extremely valuable,” writes Blake, of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, in Canada, in an e-mail. “I may serve caviar and fine champagne at my daughter’s wedding feast, but I’m not likely to pack it in my lunch bag when I go on a camping trip.”

Dorothy Washburn responds that evidence of cacao’s importance may well be found in other artifacts from the time, once such objects are reexamined in light of the new findings, and that practices relating to cacao may have died out if people stopped eating it. She also says that their findings don’t rule out that the Site 13 villagers ate cacao mostly as a ritual food.

At the very least, William Washburn says, the results suggest that “these people had acquired a taste for chocolate and knew how to prepare it”—making them not so different from modern-day chocolate lovers 1200 years later.

Original article:
news.sciencemag.org
By Tracy Watson

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light bulb conceptTopic an award

I just want to thank Stefla, at Florence and the Historian For nominating me for the Illuminating Blogger Award, this means a lot to me since it comes from blogging about my passion, foods and their history.  This award is the brain child of C.J. at foodstoriesblog and as such also deserves a thank you.

I’m posting this to share with all those who follow my blog today since Stefla nominated me several days ago but I have been sick and was unable to post this until now. Oh I know you got my post on friday that was ont i had already done when I caught this darn cold of mine.

The requirement are as follows:

If you are nominated then you have been awarded the Illuminating Blogger Award. Just follow the steps below:

  1. The nominee should visit the award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/) and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because it’s the only way that we can create a blogroll of award winners).
  2. The Nominee should thank the person that nominated them by posting & including a link to their blog.
  3. The Nominee should include a courtesy link back to the official award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/) in their blog post.
  4. Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.
  5. Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their illuminating, informative posts and nominate them for the award. Many people indicate that they wish they could nominate more so please feel free to nominate all your favorites.
  6. Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog, including a link to the award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award

Ok so here is a random fact about me I love to cook New Mexico cusine which although labeled southwest is a cusine all its own, blending mexican, native american( Navaho and others) and  american brought in by people settling in the area. My favorite to make is red chile posole.

My nominies are:

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast

inpursuitofrealfood

Emmy Cooks

ediblesubstance

Krafted by Kelly

So that is all for today, thanks again

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Topic Ancient hunters in Oregon

Findings in Oregon Caves Shed New Light on Early Americans

Dating of fossil remains and DNA testing reveals new information about early Native Americans who occupied the Paisley Caves.

Western Stemmed projectiles from the Paisley Caves in Oregon. The bases date to some 13,000 years ago. [Photo by Jim Barlow]

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clovis point

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Popular Archaeology.

Original article

popular-archaeology

I found another link you might like on the above subject
paisley caves

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Topic :Hunters before “Clovis” culture

Mastodon Kill Site Shows Human Presence in North America Before 13,000 Years Ago | Popular Archaeology – exploring the past.

Original article:

By Dan McLerran  Thu, Oct 20, 2011

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Topic: New Mexico Puff Bread

Earlier today I saw a recipe on a freshly pressed blog for Easy Sopapillas pumpkin cheesecake bars-well after leaving a comment explaining that Sopaipillas are a New Mexican deep-fried bread and not a bread pudding type desert bread I decided to deviate from my normal ancient foods post and give you a recipe for these delicious breads. Note: the recipe I  spotted originally came from Pillsbury who should have changed the name to something else, or explained what an sopapilla was and where it came from.

Sopaipillas are a New Mexico speciality, served like green and red sauces with almost every spicy dish in the state. Traditionally they are drizzled with honey to “cut” the heat of the local cuisine. Since when properly puffed they are hollow ( like a pita), they are frequently served stuffed as well.

The following recipe is from Southwestern Kitchen by Jane Butel.

Note: In the recipe it calls for 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. If you choose to not use yeast in the recipe I would recommend changing this to 1 teaspoon baking power.

Also many recipes use water instead of scalded milk. I used an electric skillet to fry the dough

Sopaipillas

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons solid vegetable shortening, lard or butter

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast ( optional)

1.4 cup warm water ( 110F. 45C)

About 1/2 cup scalded milk, cooled to room temperature

Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and cut in the shorting until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

If you are using yeast, dissolve it in the warm water in a small bowl and add it to the cooled milk sitting well. ( If not using yeast, use 3/4 to 1 cup milk and omit the 1/4 cup water.) Add 1/4 cup of the milk to the dry ingredients and work into the dough. Add more liquid gradually until the dough is firm and springy and holds its shape.

Knead dough thoroughly, about 5 minutes, until smooth, firm, and elastic. Invert a bowl over the dough and let rest 10 minutes or until the dough is softened. Heat 3 to 4 inches of oil in a deep-fat fryer to 375F ( 190C).

Work with one-half of the dough at a time, keeping the balance well covered with the bowl. Roll one section to 1/4 thickness or slightly thinner, then cut into triangles or 2-1/2 inch squares; do not reroll any of the dough. Fry sopaipillas, a few at a time, in hot fat. They should puff and become hollow soon after they are immersed in the oil. If they do not puff up, keep holding under the surface of the oil with tongs or spoon hot oil over the surface until they puff. Makes 24 small puffs. Drain on a paper towel.

I agree with Jane Butel’s belief that the inspiration for sopaipillas probably came from Navaho Fry Bread, which the seventeenth century Spaniards who came to New Mexico would have seen them cook; or visa versa. Anyway that puts this wonderful bread  in the ancient foods category, although neither the Navaho’s or anyone else would have had baking powder at this time. Both were probably done either without leaving, or possibly with baking soda( using sour milk,for the chemical reaction)  or possibly with wild yeast. 

Here is a photo of the finished product:

Sopaipillas

Original Material:

Recipe from SouthwesternKitchen by Jane Butel

Photo on gabrielaskitchen  

It seems this is also a wordpress blog, so thank you as I did not have a photo of sopaipillas.

Article by Joanna Linsley-Poe

Oct 3, 2011

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     Topic: I wonder what he ate?

This image shows the skull of Daemonosaurus chauliodus, narrow and relatively deep, measuring 5.5 inches long from the tip of its snout to the back of the skull and has proportionately large eye sockets. The upper jaw has large, forward-slanted front teeth.

Not exactly about food but very interesting and the fossil was found at Ghost Ranch in NewMexico-a very cool place that I would love to go and see. I love all the works of Georgia O’Keeffe.

WASHINGTON — The surprising discovery of a fossil of a sharp-toothed beast that lurked in what is now the western U.S. more than 200 million years ago is filling a gap in dinosaur evolution.

The short snout and slanting front teeth of the find — Daemonosaurus chauliodus — had never before been seen in a Triassic era dinosaur, said Hans-Dieter Sues of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Sues and colleagues report the discovery in Wednesday’s edition of the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Sues, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the museum, said the discovery helps fill the evolutionary gap between the dinosaurs that lived in what is now Argentina and Brazil about 230 million years ago and the later theropods like the famous Tyrannosaurus rex.

Features of the skull and neck of Daemonosaurus indicate it was intermediate between the earliest known predatory dinosaurs from South America and more advanced theropods,” said Sues. “One such feature is the presence of cavities on some of the neck vertebrae related to the structure of the respiratory system.”

Daemonosaurus was discovered at Ghost Ranch, N.M., a well-known fossil site famous for the thousands of fossilized skeletons found there, notably the small dinosaur Coelophysis. Ghost Ranch was more recently the home of artist Georgia O’Keeffe, who was known to visit the archaeological digs underway there, Sues noted.

Having found only the head and neck of sharp-toothed Daemonosaurus, the researchers aren’t sure of its exact size but they speculate it would have been near that of a tall dog. Its name is from the Greek words “daimon” meaning evil spirit and “sauros” meaning lizard or reptile. Chauliodus is derived from the Greek word for “buck-toothed” and refers to the species’ big slanted front teeth.

“It looks to be a mean character,” commented paleontologist Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago, who was not part of the research team. “I can’t wait to see if they get any more of the skeleton.”

This fits in quite nicely between the dinosaur groups, Sereno said, even though its face is unlike anything that would have been expected in these early dinosaurs, which tended to have more elongated snouts.

This find shows there is still much to be learned about the early evolution of dinosaurs. “The continued exploration of even well-studied regions like the American Southwest will still yield remarkable new fossil finds,” Sues said.

Original Article:

By Randolph E. Schmid, AP Science Writer

4/14/2011

usa.com

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