If you order food of any type in New Mexico, it will contain Hatch Chiles. New Mexico’s state vegetable (fruit?) is the Hatch Chile. They are harvested both mature green or mature red. In a restaurant, the question is “red or green”. Hatch Chiles are grown only in the Hatch Valley and the town of Hatch in Southern New Mexico. That area has a distinctive combination of climate and soil that makes the Hatch Chiles unique. They are fire roasted and available fresh though out New Mexico and the Southwest. Elsewhere, you can get them shipped frozen or in cans.
It’s like brandy in drinks in Northern Wisconsin. Unless you tell the bartender otherwise, he might make your martini with brandy.
This is not a complaint. We like our brandy old-fashions (sweet) and we like Hatch Chiles. The people of New Mexico have had centuries to learn how to use them. They seemed to add heat to the food without cauterizing my lips and mouth. Now that we know about them, we will be looking for them in local stores and using them.
Good inn sitters need to absorb the culture and the personality of the area where they are working. Catherine and I already knew this, but it was really brought home to us during our visit to New Mexico.
We have begun to learn about the culinary traditions of New Mexico and how they have been shaped by the climate and the people of the state. We learned that Machine Gun Kelly and a brother of convicted Soviet spy Ethel Rosenberg once rented rooms in what are, today, Albuquerque bed and breakfasts. We also learned about the amazing array of artists, writers, intellectuals, politicians and movie stars who visited New Mexico and stayed in historic New Mexico houses that are now bed and breakfasts.