The Fork

Indigenous Cuisine Primer

L’Fork was not in attendance for the tearing down of the obelisk in the Santa Fe Plaza on Oct. 12—aka Indigenous Peoples Day in Santa Fe—but we heard it was a pretty powerful and joyful experience all things considered (we’re not taking a stance, we’ll leave that to the “real” journalists, and we’re just telling you what we heard). But also we’re not really here to talk about all that jazz, we’re here to say that we hope that everyone eventually gets to have Indigenous Peoples Day in their town and that everyone gets into Indigenous cuisine. It’s out there, it’s available, we’re going to point you in a few directions so you can learn more about this storied part of the food-eating/making world!

We’ll start with The Sioux Chef, a varied team representing Anishinaabe, Mdewakanton Dakota, Navajo, Northern Cheyenne, Oglala Lakota and Wahpeton-Sisseton Dakota tribes who are, according to the website, “committed to revitalizing Native American Cuisine.” In 2018, founder Sean Sherman won a dang James Beard Award for Best Cookbook with The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, a handy compendium of dishes made with wild and foraged ingredients, game and fish and other cool things.

We also recently became interested in Chef Ray Naranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo), the executive chef at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and a real rising star in the Indigenous cuisine game. Just last week, Naranjo spoke to one of SFR’s writers about a dinner he was crafting with Vietnamese cooking champion Hue-Chan Karels through her Open Kitchen culinary outfit. In that talk, Naranjo pointed out how he likes using the grain amaranth, both for its contributions to food and because it “was the first crop outlawed by European settlers.” Naranjo says part of his goal is to reeducate both Native and non-Native diners on what’s up in the world of ancient Indigenous recipes created through the lens of more contemporary cooking styles. has a really helpful list of ingredients and backgrounds that go into recipes like succotash or baked pumpkin or foraged greens salads or even a sweet smoked salmon that we’re sincerely about to go home and start preparing. Basically, this is as good a place to start as you’ll probably find.

If you don’t already know what we mean when we say “three sisters,” click this link and learn more about what they are, why they’re important to the region and why they’re so dang tasty.

And, of course, we couldn’t put together a quick primer about Indigenous food without shining a spotlight on Santa Fe’s own Roxanne Swentzell (Santa Clara Pueblo), whose Pueblo Food Experience cookbook is both comprehensive and beloved. It tells a story, the photos are GORGEOUS and we’ve been kicking around the idea of just wending our way through the thing for some time. Maybe this is the time it finally happens.

We’re also kinda hoping we might have some Indigenous readers who might feel like sharing a recipe or two with the class. Maybe something your elders made that you can’t live without? A snack? Something sweet? Hit us up—we want to know!


-Congrats to John RE, who successfully answered that the Ren & Stimpy clip was connected to last week’s Fork item on Edy’s Pies because though Ren was chomping on a bar o' soap, space madness had him believing it was an ice cream bar he’d had since he was a child. John, we’re gonna send you a little something if you respond to our email.

-We’ve also gotta get a sad one out of the way this week, folks. Sorry, but it seems Del Charro, the downtown/super-affordable bar/restaurant has shut down following five cases of COVID-19 among staff. The spot will reportedly not reopen until every last employee tests negative.

-Apropos of COVID-19 and closures, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced new health orders on Tuesday, saying that “any food or drink establishment in New Mexico serving alcohol must close at 10 pm each night.” Not a huge blow to Santa Fe, where very little is open that late, but we can think of a few bars that’ll get hit. It’s because virus numbers are rising at an alarming rate in the state. Note, also, that hotels will be reduced to 60% occupancy, for businesses that have completed a certified training program and 25% for those that haven’t.

-Word on the street is that Squash Blossom—that glorious bastion of fresh, delivered vegetables from local farms and such—is looking for a nice veggie packer to join the team. Visit the website (linked above) for more details or to apply. We think everyone knows jobs aren’t so easy to come by these days, and we’ve never heard anything but awesomeness about Squash Blossom.

-We also hear that Terra Verde Organic is launching a new kind of breakfast burrito based on the stately omelet this week. We’re talking sauteed mushrooms, feta, eggs and lemon zest and hashbrowns and—holy shit, let’s all just order one.

-Remember back in May when the state told restaurants they could figure out ways to extend their floor plans to the outside world, thereby making plein aire dining a reality for places that didn’t have patios? We’re not saying it’s EVERY place (seriously, we’re not saying that), but we ARE saying that the expedited permitting process thing has been extended another six months. What this means with winter coming is anyone’s guess, but the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, or ABCD if you’re nasty, tells SFR the “Lujan Grisham administration is committed to finding ways for businesses to sustain themselves safely while protecting health and welfare.”

-Back in November of 2019, we did our first and last interview ever with baker Chainé Pena (she’s actually the only person who knows who we really are, but she’ll never tell because she’s too busy making macarons). She’d just opened her adorable and classy cookie shop, Chainé, and was churning out macarons like nobody’s business. Well, we’re bringing Pena up again because over on her Instagram page we saw she’s making macaron ice cream sammies with pumpkin ice cream. Oh, Em. Gee. Just look at the photo:

-Lastly in this week’s local section, a word of sincerity from your good friend, The Fork. Look, buds, winter is nearing with every slightly colder night, and we need our readers to be aware what this could very well mean for restaurants in Santa Fe (and everywhere, really): Some of the places we know and love might close forever. We need to support when we can, ask our local legislators why New Mexico insists on arcane liquor laws and put our dollars into community places we’d like to see thrive. This means maybe going to Felipe’s Tacos instead of Chipotle, or to Atrisco instead of...whatever the chain equivalent of that would be, though we doubt there is one. In other words, if you want a place to survive, assume they’re depending on your bucks. We can live without Carl’s Jr., but we can’t without La Choza, dig?

More Tidbits

-ARE YOU SITTING DOWN?!?! YOU EFFING BETTER BE, BECAUSE WE’RE ABOUT TO DROP A KNOWLEDGE BOMB!!!! Seems KFC, fatigued by the so-called “finger-lickin' good” sauce, has changed things up for a new...sauce that is reportedly a “sweeter, tangier mix with a kiss of smokiness.”

-Michelin, French makers of tires and also deciders of what makes restaurants fancy for some reason (probably because they French), has chosen to not issue its famed stars in California this year, both because of the wildfires and the pandemic.

-Hey, you nerds who learned to make bread during the pandemic—Bon Appétit has a recipe for you. It’s a simple sammie loaf and there’s simple steps to follow. Simple, right? Right. Anyway, you’ll seen be making sandwiches at home in no time, laughing at Orowheat the whole time. has a pretty cool breakdown of reasons you should be adding cinnamon to your coffee, and they range from health reasons to cinnamon tastes freaking amazing, OK?! Do note that harvesting the stuff is a drag and a half (not, like, vanilla bean bad, but still, it’s work), so don’t be all shocked about paying top dollar for the good stuff. Also, maybe go donate to some kind of worker owned coffee farm or something real quick.

-Since nothing feels good anymore, it turns out drinking coconut water and using coconut oil and listening to Jason Schwartzman’s only-OK indie-pop are all bad for the environment. Dammit.

Dammit, we’re good at jokes.


A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence

Number of Letters Received 27 *Jeeeeeeze—y’all love Regal Theaters. We get it!

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader) “You better fucking be praying!” *Believe it or not, this is not from the person who told us they could prove the existence of God.

Actually Helpful Tip This recipe for Bloody Eyeball snax for Halloween from Forknatic Maybe (we’re not positive that’s the name, but still):

Bowl of Bloody Eyeballs

  • 2 cans Lychees (in the Asian food aisle)
  • 1 pint Fresh Blueberries (large berries are better)
  • 2 Tbs Grenadine Syrup (in the liquor aisle)
  • 2 Tbs Seedless Strawberry Preserves (optional)
  • Stuff the drained Lychees with blueberries—1 berry if they’re large, more if they’re small.
  • Place in a bowl and add Grenadine (and optional preserves if you like the gelatinous consistency that you might expect to be present behind the eyeball when you pluck them out).
  • Stir gently and serve at room temperature.
  • Can also be served in punch.
  • Boo


We were saying Boo-urns, The Fork

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