Posts Tagged ‘new mexico’

Topic New Mexico Chile

My thoughts:

Finally a law to protect New Mexico’s chiles!

If you have only tasted green chiles from a can you (as the saying goes), don’t know what your missing.

Green chiles are everywhere in New Mexico as I can attest to having spent many years living there. Even the cuisine is unique boosting the one and only green chile burger( try the Owl cafe in Socorro), stacked enchiladas with a fried egg on top, sopaipillas with honey,served with the ever-present question( red or green?) chile that is.

There is a project to save these wonderful chiles, many are varieties created by the chile farmers themselves.

In a world with heirloom grains and seed saving companies there is room to save the beloved New Mexico chile .

So if you love chiles-eat green-green chiles that is!




New Mexico chile pictures


Growing Green Chiles


SANTA FE, N.M (Reuters) – Chile eaters in New Mexico will now know whether the beloved pepper is grown locally or flown in from China or India.

The New Mexico Chile Advertising Act — signed by Governor Susana Martinez on Tuesday — makes it illegal to advertise any product as a New Mexico chile unless the chile is grown in the state.

“People all over the country advertise New Mexico chile — whether it’s genuine or not,” said Rep. Andy Nunez, who sponsored the bill. “This law makes it easier to protect one of our state’s most treasured products and preserve the good name of our world-class chiles.”

New Mexico is known for its green chile in particular, used to make a sauce that’s slathered over burritos, on omelets and on just about any other food. The rich, spicy sauce — not to be confused with ‘chili,’ the meat dish famous in Texas — is so popular that legislators once voted the state question to be “red or green?”

But the industry is in decline, pushed out by cheap imports and a lack of water that forces some farmers to grow cotton instead, Nunez said.

Fewer than 9,000 acres of chile plants were harvested in New Mexico in 2010, compared to more than 34,000 acres in 1992, according to the New Mexico Chile Association. The crop contributes $350 million to the state’s economy each year.

“People think our biggest problem comes from Mexico, but it’s really from China and Peru, whose labor is extraordinarily cheap,” said Jaye Hawkins, executive director of the association, which pushed for the bill.

In fact, 82 percent of all chiles consumed in the country are foreign-grown, Hawkins said.

“We just want our consumer to feel confident that when they order New Mexico chile, that’s in fact what it is,” Hawkins said.

Violators of the misdemeanor could be fined or serve time in jail, Nunez said.

Original article:


By Zelie Pollon Tue Apr 5, 2011

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Topic:Cacao in the Southwest

Hohokam Pottery


Chocolate may have provided sweet impetus for extensive trade between ancient northern and southern societies in the Americas. Pueblo people living in what’s now the U.S. Southwest drank a cacao-based beverage that was imported from Mesoamerican cultures in southern Mexico or Central America, a new chemical analysis of Pueblo vessels finds.

Pueblo groups and an ensuing Southwest society traded turquoise for Mesoamerican cacao for about five centuries, from around 900 to 1400, proposes a team led by archaeologist Dorothy Washburn of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Surprisingly, large numbers of people throughout Pueblo society apparently consumed cacao, from low-ranking farmers to elite residents of a multistory pueblo, the scientists report online March 4 in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

“Since cacao was consumed by both Pueblo elites and nonelites, active trading for cacao must have occurred with Mesoamerican states,” Washburn says.

Washburn’s study was inspired by a 2009 report of cacao residue in three jars from an 800-room pueblo, known as Pueblo Bonito, in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon (SN: 2/28/09, p. 14). Pueblo Bonito dates to the 11th century, and Chaco Canyon was a regional center of Pueblo life from about 900 to 1130.

That initial evidence of cacao drinking in Chaco Canyon surprised many archaeologists, who long have assumed that cultures of the Southwest and Mesoamerica had minimal contact. Yet previous Pueblo finds in Chaco Canyon include macaw remains, copper bells and decorative items that must have come from Mesoamerica, remarks archaeologist Ben Nelson of Arizona State University in Tempe.

“To find that cacao consumption was much more widespread strengthens the case for regular exchange with populations in Mesoamerica,” Nelson says.

He has argued that leaders of ancient Southwestern societies appropriated selected aspects of Mesoamerican cultures for their own purposes, perhaps to justify their power and prestige.

Washburn and her colleagues identified traces of theobromine, a chemical found in cacao plants, in 50 of 75 pitchers and bowls from Pueblo Bonito, surrounding Pueblo farming villages and 14th-century graves of high-ranking members of the nearby Hohokam society in Arizona.

Hohokam sites contain ball courts and massive platforms much like those in Maya and other Mesoamerican cities, Washburn says.

Other researchers have matched the chemical signature of turquoise from mines in New Mexico to that of turquoise found at several Mesoamerican sites, including the Maya site of Chichen Itza. In Washburn’s view, mines in the U.S. Southwest, but not Mexico or Central America, contain turquoise of high enough quality for mosaic tiles that were used in Mesoamerican designs.

Mesoamericans built 500- to 800-room pueblos in Chaco Canyon as administrative trading centers, she hypothesizes. Newcomers from the south brought a cacao-drinking habit with them and introduced the beverage to locals.

Excavations at several small Pueblo sites in Chaco Canyon suggest that turquoise was fashioned into jewelry and other luxury items there, Washburn adds. “Turquoise workers may have been paid in cacao, as was the case in Mesoamerica,” she says. “That would have given a nonelite population access to cacao that we found in their bowls and pitchers.”

Washburn plans to examine whether Pueblo groups in other parts of the Southwest used cacao. In particular, she wants to look for theobromine in vessels that display stylistic links to Mesoamerica, such as jars with indented bases. Theobromine-containing cacao plants grow in tropical parts of Mexico and Central America but not in the U.S. Southwest, she says.

Original Article:

By Bruce Bower



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Topic: You can get Red or Green-or Both

Yes, I know this is slightly off the topic of ancient foods but since I love the show In Plain Sight and suspect there are others who like it as well, I thought you might like a couple of pictures of by far the best restaurant( cafe really) in Albuquerque. These are of the Church Street Cafe in Old Town. Now I used to live in Old Town but being a starving student I never went there to eat-my loss at the time. Several years ago I happened to be in Albuquerque and having been told about the cafe went there to eat. It is by far the best you will ever get in town-and not all that expensive. I had breakfast and when asked( as is typical in New Mexico) if I wanted red or green chile with the meal I said both and was served both, it was the best meal I have ever eaten.

The cafe was first built as a home sometime in the early 1700’s by the Ruiz family, which makes it “ancient” in my book, as the menu I received as a gift informs anyone who eats there. This makes the structure one of the oldest in the state.

I can guarantee the food is typical New Mexican and steeped in the history of the region. In fact I used to teach cooking classes and this was one of the cuisines I taught.

A link will take you there for the full story. Check the page About the cafe for the full story-better yet if you are in Albuquerque-go eat there.



























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Topic: Chocolate

More information on chocolate in the Chaco Canyon area of New Mexico.

Scientists recently found traces of chocolate residue on ancient jars in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. The discovery marks the earliest known presence of cacao north of Mexico. “It is the first known cacao north of the Mexican border in the United States, and as far as I know the only known cacao in the United States before contact,” Patricia Crown of the University of New Mexico told LiveScience, referring to the time before Native Americans interacted with European settlers.

The pottery shards were discovered in Pueblo Bonito and suggest that the practice of drinking chocolate had traveled from Mexico to the American Southwest at least 1,000 years ago. Scientists had long known of the ancient practice of drinking chocolate in Mesoamerica, which spans from current day Central Mexico down to Nicaragua. But now they think the tradition may have traveled farther north than they previously believed. 

The cacao plant is tropical and needs moist warm environments to grow. The climate of New Mexico is not very conducive to tropical vegetation. Researchers say that the closest possible source of cacao beans for the inhabitants of Pueblo Bonito was about 1,240 miles away.

When the shards were originally discovered, their odd shape, approximately 10 inches tall and 4 inches wide, indicated that they were used for a very specific practice. “If it was the form specifically used for drinking cacao, that would explain why it’s such a specialized form,” said Crown.

Original article:


By Mariela Rosario


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