New Mexico Chile. Or is it New Mexico Chili? Spelled either way, it’s one of things I missed the most when I moved from New Mexico in 1991. You just can’t get GOOD chile any place else and if you’ve never had any chile from Hatch, NM, I know what you’re missing. Chile, by the way, is the correct Spanish spelling of the cayenne pepper. The Anglo spelling is the one with the “i”. The misspelling probably started with the Americanized version of the dish, “Carne con Chili” which means “meat with chili,” or as Nalley’s, Libby’s and everyone else in New York City calls it, “Chili con Carne.”
My daughter, Stephanie, surprised us with our chile ristra the other day. I’m not an expert on chile by any stretch, but I knew to hang it by the front door. Traditionally, when the ristra (Spanish for “string”) is hung in the doorway, it’s an invitation to visitors, but it’s really to continue the drying process in a well-ventilated area. I just like how it looks. And it’s eatable. After drying, the chile can last up to two years. You can chop it, grind it into chile powder, make sauces, add it to soups, if you cook that is. I don’t. It will most likely just continue to hang on my front porch.
Fall in New Mexico is one of the best times of the year. The lingering warm days and crisp nights are a welcome change from hot desert summer days. The swamp cooler is no longer running continuously to keep the house cool. The lack of the fan noise is noticeable. The leaves start to gather on the porch and the corners of the yard. And football. Let’s not forget football. The University of New Mexico Lobos are not very good this year. At least that is the word on the street. They lost their first game 14-10 to Colorado State, then a shellacking in Arkansas 52-3. They let the Texas Tech Red Raiders take them out at home 59-13. They entertain Sam Houston State on Saturday. I don’t know how entertaining it will be for Lobo fans, but I’ve never heard of Sam Houston State, so maybe they have a chance. It’s all about the tailgate party anyway.
Soccer is big down here. I’m not really a rabid soccer fan, but my granddaughter, Cheyenne, and my grandson, Conner, both play. We went to Cheyenne’s game last weekend. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I’m sure it’s because she was playing, not because I’m suddenly going to like the game. Maybe when I understand the rules more it will make more sense? What I could see is there is a lot of constant running. You had better be in shape…or young…if you want to play soccer. There’s a lot of kicking going on too, and the game can get a little violent with all the high speed collisions trying to chase down the ball. Speed is key here. You have to be fast to be really good at it, I think. But it’s a game enjoyed on a warm fall day on a grass field, so it can’t be all bad.
On this date in 1879, Billy the Kid was arrested for the first time, for of all things, stealing a basket of laundry. He subsequently broke out of jail and became an Old West legend. He is credited with 21 murders during his days as a horse thief, cattle rustler, gambler and gunslinger. History credits him with only six murders, maybe nine. William H. Bonney, born William H. McCarty, was shot and killed by the legendary Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, on July 14, 1881. He was 21 years old. Fort Sumner is about 120 miles southeast of here.
Well, I’ve got things to do, people to see, and places to go, so I’ll end this rambling from the Land of Enchantment with this notable quote from the GOP debates last night from past New Mexico Governor, Gary Johnson. “My next door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.”