Last updated on Monday, February 24, 2003
Chile peppers are the Land of Enchanters’ mysterious and highly addictive vegetable that may cause brows to sweat, noses to run, eyes to tear, and alas, guttural hiccups upon overdose. It’s a painfully pleasant experience we welcome many times daily.
The poor souls who suffer from allergies, whose symptoms range from a stuffy nose and itchy eyes to profound sneezing, often depend on over-the-counter potions for temporary relief. But not true-blue New Mexicans. Land of Enchantmenters grab our home grown hotheaded red or green chile pod to help clear the head. Why? A puissant chemical, capsaicin [kap-SAY-ih-sihn], which is found in most varieties of chile, is known for its nasal passage arousal and decongestant properties.
"Back up, honey. No, a little bit more. If you step back a little bit, and to the left in front of the cactus, I'll get a better shot," I said to my husband, peering through my camera's viewfinder. Just when I was ready to snap the photo, Ed let out a "Yow!" A jackrabbit, whose long ears poked regally through a creosote bush, suddenly leaped out. Startled by the commotion, the hare used his Herculean hind legs to scamper off leaving a dusty trail behind.
Dropping my camera I dashed to Ed's side, who stood erect and motionless as if in shock "What's wrong?" I asked, my adrenaline pumping. Face contorted, Ed only groaned before rotating his body to reveal the cause of his grief.
Every New Years Eve we promise ourselves not to overindulge in “spirits,” but alas, it does happen. So if you’re reading this article in bed with an ice pack on your head and Pepto Bismol on the nightstand, consider yourself a self-induced victim of a hangover, or as they say in Spanish, of el crudo.
To usher in the chile season, Hatch hosts the Labor Day Chile Festival. The venue is split between downtown and the airstrip, two miles west on Highway 26. The lively festival draws thousands of tourists from around the world and features a chili cook-off, arts and crafts galore, two-steppin' music, sidewalk sales, chile eats and products, and a parade led by the newly crowned Ms. Chile.
Put on your cowboy hat and working pair of boots to celebrate the Old West's restaurant on the range the chuckwagon. Betcha there will be no microwave ovens in the infield of the Ruidoso Downs Race Track on New Mexico Highway 70 where 40 cowboy cookin' teams will compete over open fires for a large purse for their beef, beans, potatoes, biscuit and dessert creations. Judges points are swayed by authenticity. This competition is the hottest in the West.
At holiday time people throughout the world honor traditions, and New Mexico is no exception. One tradition many here look forward to on Christmas Eve is a steaming bowl of posole (po-SO-lay), a spicy corn stew that is known as the ceremonial dish for celebrating life's blessings.
Built in the 1880's, the Barber Shop Café offered customers a bath, shave and haircut until about fifty years ago. The building is preserved much as it was—the original mirror still spans the width of the café with a sign stating "Baths 25 cents." Nowadays, instead of shaves, baths and haircuts, the Barber Shop Café now serves customers the best food for miles around.
Imagine this staggering grocery list: 750 pounds of stone
ground corn, 175 gallons of vegetable oil, 75 gallons of red chile, 175 pounds
of grated cheese, and 50 pounds of onion. Well, chile lovers, this is what it
takes to conjure up the world's largest enchilada, which you can watch being
prepared and then devour at the culmination of The Whole Enchilada Festival
(TWEF) on Sunday, October 3 in the Las Cruces Downtown Mall.
The history of humanity is a long and complex one. When stripped of all the manifold facts and figures, it really comes down to two key fundamentals: food and sex. Food sustains the living, while sex insures the continuity of that living.
Mildred Cusey spent most of her life engaged in the professional aspects of both basics. She was early caterer for the former and later entrepreneur of the latter.
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