I Before L and E – The Grammar of Good Eats

I have the greatest best friend in the world. Knowing a ex-pat New Mexican like me is missing home more than ever in the Fall, she decided to poke the bruise. Because why not?

And being my best friend, she knew right where to hit for maximum impact. She got me right in the green chile.

Over this past weekend, she sent me a text with a photo taken near Las Cruces and the words “New Mexico misses you.”

So of course I damn near wept. I mean, my nostrils long for the scent of roasting green chile. And Zozobra just happened. And the State Fair is going on. And the Balloon Fiesta is coming up. It’s the best time of the year to be a New Mexican. And oh damn, why again did I move to California?

So I replied and waxed rhapsodic about the virtues of green chile. How I missed it. How maybe I could find some again this year at Whole Foods. How my local hippie grocery store carries dried red chile pods that are labeled as being from New Mexico.

I was lost in a land of happy thoughts and green chile dreams when my best friend who is teaches English at a local high school, said…

“Did you notice it was spelled c h l i e?”


Truth was, I hadn’t noticed. I was so busy trying to locate the green chile smell in my memory banks and bring it back to my nose. So I looked again. Sure enough.

Then I laughed. I considered making a crack about the sorry condition of public education in New Mexico, but that’s just hitting below the belt.

To be honest, the photo of a hastily hand painted sign made me miss New Mexico that much more.

Oh Fair New Mexico. How I love you you, your green chile and your bad spelling.

Love you so.

Photo courtesy and copyright 2013 my best friend in the world. Don’t steal it without asking!”

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  • Lucky

    I didn’t notice it either!

    Ah, green chile roasting and hand-painted signs. And the smell! We trucked our butts to a far away supermarket here in VA this weekend, which had advertised a “Hatch Green Chile Festival.” They were, indeed, roasting green chile, allegedly from Hatch – but somewhere in the back rooms of the market, over a stove I presume, and they were selling it by the quart. Seriously, they brought it out in little square plastic containers and stuck them in crushed ice in the produce section. No, no, no, no, no, no! You roast it in the parking lot! By the sack! What the heck am I going to do with a mere quart of green chile?

    I told them. They gave me funny looks.

    • Karen Fayeth

      Lucky – Oh wow, did you rip the place apart all Hulk like! “Not even enough chile for a freaking quesadilla! You b*st*rds!!!!!”

      I mighta.

      Also, a Hatch Green Chile festival in VA made me giggle….just a little. Almost as bad as a Hatch Green Chile festival in CA. You know what I’m sayin’?

  • Lucky

    I think CA might have a little more credibility, really. At least it’s mountainy in places. And West.

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