When Hubby L and I flew back east to visit a while back, I took a book about New Mexico along with me.
Glad I did.
Because even though three of our four flights ended up leaving an hour late and the onboard movies were lousy, I couldn’t have cared less.
That book I took was Kelly Urig’s New Mexico Chiles. Reading it made those extra hours between Baltimore and El Paso fly by (even when we weren’t!)
Remember the question posed earlier here: What’s all this crud about the red and green chile?
Kelly Urig’s New Mexico Chiles book has the answers to that question and more.
New Mexico Chiles Book Review
The book’s full title is New Mexico Chiles: History, Legend, and Lore.
You’ll not be reading long before confirming the author chose that subtitle ~ History, Legend, and Lore ~ for good reason.
Yes, the focus is on delicious New Mexico chile dishes and the people who make them possible.
But we also learn the history of chile from its introduction into New Mexico by the Spaniards over 400 years ago. Along with the science of growing chile and what the different New Mexico chile varieties are.
Hint: There are lots of them.
The point is Kelly Urig was raised on New Mexico chile and knows a lot about it. It has been her everyday foodie love since childhood. Maybe that’s how she’s able to make details about cultivating chile sound as interesting as the various ways you can eat it.
This is a medium-length book, broken up into seven major sections or parts. In each of these, you’ll find subsections to help you explore a favorite topic even further.
The whole package comes in at just under 200 pages. But it is an oh-so-comfortable read since so many of those pages contain descriptions of chile-rich foods and photos that make your mouth water.
Ever taste a good red chile sauce?
In Farming, one of my favorite sections, the author describes making fresh red chile sauce with extended family members. It’s an annual event bringing together relatives and friends from all over the state to her family’s farm in Hatch, in Southern New Mexico.
Easy to see how chile farming, prepping, as well as eating ~ in short, everything chile from beginning to lip-smacking end ~ is truly a family affair in New Mexico.
Restaurants and Industries are two sections you’re sure to find handy when planning your New Mexico trip.
Kelly Urig grew up in Santa Fe. So no surprise most of the featured restaurants and shops are located in and around New Mexico’s capital city.
Good thing for us since all of her choices are quality establishments serving the food she knows best. The author introduces us, in one profile after another, to owners who know their chile stuff and cook with a respect for the food they serve.
Amazing how so many of these moved from other states (and careers) to start their foodie businesses after visiting New Mexico and falling in love with its chile.
You could say New Mexico’s chile changed their lives.
Speaking of “changed lives” . . . reading about the chile-infused sweets found on The Santa Fe Chocolate Trail might alter forever your expectations of what chocolate can be.
The author has devoted an entire subsection to the trail with fans of spice and chocolate ~ like us ~ in mind.
Could be there is an 80 percent pure chocolate cherry chile truffle with your name on it at Kakawa. I already know there’s a raspberry chipotle truffle at C.G. Higgins with mine.
Is this New Mexico Chiles book for you?
Whether you choose to read Kelly Urig’s New Mexico Chiles before bedtime or after sprinting through an airline terminal this book is for you if you:
- want to learn more about New Mexico culture.
- travel for food and want a good selection of shops and restaurants to visit in Northern New Mexico.
- aim to get clear on how this food called “chile” has never been or will ever be the same as “chili” and the TREMENDOUS difference that distinction makes.