Sorry we just kind of didn’t show up last week. We were busy doing stuff and assume everyone made it through somehow. Still, we apologize. Let’s get into it.
We’ve picked up some rather interesting holiday facts for everyone during this post-Thanksgiving period at which y’all might hoot. If we’re being honest, we’re still eating leftovers from last week while society dictates that we start planning Christmas meals (shout-out to everyone who doesn’t do Christmas for religious/personal/political reasons!), so it’s still on our mind.
Like, for example, did you know the National Turkey Federation says Americans eat something like 46 million turkeys for Thanksgiving? For some reason, we learned, Minnesota raises the most eatin’ turkeys, but there are about a dozen other states that raise the bulk of our holiday birds.
Potato numbers are off the charts, too, with Americans scarfing somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 million pounds of them tubers—now, that’s all kinds, mind you—during Thanksgiving. Our household must’ve eaten a couple thousand pounds of russets and Yukon golds at least.
And the stats continue in bullet point form:
-According to recent government data, cranberry production was down in 2020—during COVID, just in case you forgot—by 9.4%, but, at least as of 2022, was projected to bounce back to 7.4 million barrels, each clocking in at 100 pounds.
-In 2021, American farms generated more than 15 billion pounds of green beans, with 18% going out fresh and the rest hitting cans, freezer sections and other such destinations.
-More than a billion pounds of pumpkins grew into existence in 2021, too, which makes for a lot of pumpkin pies. Did we get pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving? No! Our mom promised to make one then showed up with some pre-made cherry pie from God knows where. Perhaps it’s high-class, but this was easily one of the most significant bummers of out lifetime.
...and Christmas is just around the corner!
And we have thoughts about that, too. For example, do people really eat Christmas goose? Where do you get a Christmas goose? Whole Foods has ‘em from time to time, which we know because we’ve seen them. That’d be worth a call, though, if you want to live out some kind of Charles Dickens fantasy wherein you get an old guy to rush to your house and hug your children with a goose slung over his shoulder. We didn’t see goose on the website for local butchery Beck & Bulow, but their bird menu has plenty of options when it comes to chicken and duck. Honestly, though, our research all leads us toward Christmas dinner being some slightly less-intensive version of Thanksgiving rounded out with more types of cookies and desserts and maybe ham instead of turkey. You can get a ham anywhere.
You can also get Christmas crackers at World Market, just saying, and those are always fun despite the cheesiness. Everyone has to wear the paper crown, though, which isn’t our opinion so much as it’s the law. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, Christmas crackers are those things that require two folks to “crack” them open, and then they have dorky little toys and such inside—and almost always paper crowns. We once saw a set from British department store Harrods that had, like, diamonds and gold watches and doubloons and such, but those ones cost many thousands of dollars/pounds. All we really know for sure is that you shouldn’t promise someone a specific pie for Christmas only to show up with lesser pie.
In summation, we’re all gonna eat too much in the coming weeks, as we have been for the last week anyway, which is both awesome and highly bizarre given how fatphobic America continues to be. But we’re kind of hoping y’all readers will help us out a little for next week’s Fork: What food can’t you live without this time of year? What does New Mexico do better than other places (non biscochito category, because we already know about that) and what fun food traditions would you like to share with the class? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s spread around some of the weird stuff we do as people.
As a bonus, we’re including a bisochito recipe from former SFR food writer Eli Seratt riiiiiiiiiiiight here (please disregard if your grandma already makes the best ones around):
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Zest of one orange
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons brandy or whiskey
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons anise extract
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in orange zest.
- Combine cinnamon and sugar for topping in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a separate bowl beat vegetable shortening with a mixer, gradually adding sugar, until light and fluffy. Add egg, brandy, orange juice, vanilla extract and anise extract and beat well.
- Add dry ingredients the shortening mixture gradually, stopping when mixture is combined. Do not overwork—dough will have consistency similar to pie crust.
- Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon dough into cookie press, and press shapes onto lined baking sheets.
*Alternately: roll out dough to ¼-inch thickness between two sheets of parchment paper, using about 1/2 to 1/3 of the dough at a time. Cut out cookies and place on lined baking sheets.
- Bake cookies 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture immediately. Cool one minute and loosen cookies from parchment paper. Allow to cool completely.
We’re told it is NOT too early for Christmas music, so...
-We were saddened to hear about the death of Santa Fe’s Deena Chafetz, who succumbed to breast cancer on Nov. 14 after a yearslong battle. Chafetz was a longtime chef who worked all across the country, but who was perhaps best known as a culinary educator at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. Chafetz is survived by her wife, the author Ariel Gore. So long, chef, and thanks for the food. You can read the obituary through this link.
-We’re sorry to report the folks from Santa Fe’s Barrio Brinery announced via Instagram earlier this week that they’ll shutter forever following business hours on Saturday, Dec. 9. “After much discussion and deliberation, we have made the difficult decision,” the post reads in part. “We have reached the point where it doesn’t make financial sense to continue.” This has a little something to do with the pandemic, inflation and the way nothing ever seems to feel good anymore. We’re devastated, honestly. Those people sure knew how to make a pickle. And we know numerous Santa Fe restaurants use Barrio Brinery products, so that’s also terrible. Our hearts go out to those amazing picklers and we wish them all well in the future.
-Santa Fe authors/YouTube personalities Lisa Lucas and Debriana Mansini just dropped their new cookbook, That Time We Ate Our Feelings, a book spurred from the pair’s time creating for and running the YT channel Corona Kitchen. The idea, we’re told, is that it’s kind of a quirky/funny thing with more than 100 recipes for all meals, snacks, whatever. If’n you live in Santa Fe and wanna do more about this, Lucas and Mansini are slated to appear at Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse on Friday, Dec. 8 at 6 pm in support of the book.
-Speaking of cookbooks, the New Mexico Lottery is seeking recipes for its upcoming Lottery Favorites Cookbook, which is some kind of player-driven cookbook slated for a digital release in February. If you follow this link, it’ll whisk you away to a place where you can enter your recipe ideas for a chance to win stuff—including $1,000 for three lucky participants and some other stuff for a bunch of other goobers. We aren’t sure we were looking to the lottery for food ideas, but if it means there’ll be more awesome New Mexican recipes out there, we say let ‘er rip.
-Despite their still-absurd assertion that they’re the only food newsletter in town (which many readers have pointed out to us is laughable because The Fork was started by the legend Rob DeWalt a million years ago and is now in our...well, not hands, but whatever you might call talons made from noble gases), The Bite’s recent breakdown of Santa Fe coffee shops sure does exist. As always, we’ll keep dogging on The Bite until it removes its language about being “the only” place doing this stuff. Hell, we just made a list about why we hate lists last week and you didn’t see us acting like we invented the idea, shit.
-Speaking of lists, our recent newsletter bemoaning them turned out to be eerily prophetic as OpenTable-dot-com’s just-released Top 100 Restaurants of 2023 contains Geronimo and Sazón. Cool. Word. Wonderful. Glorious. Quelle surprise! For the umpteenth time everyone re-learns that restaurants inaccessible to most are super popular among *shudder* foodies and people whose monocles fall out every time they scoff at poor folks’ refusal to just die. In reality, those are both very nice restaurants and we know those people work hard, but dammit, we maintain—and we’ll die on this hill—that there are more culinary options in heaven and earth than the white tablecloth joints and all their fucking sauces. Read the whole list here if you must and don’t email us about sauces!
-Big news out of Albuquerque’s VARA Winery & Distillery, where longtime wine-makin’ fool Sofian Himeur has come on as winemaker. Himeur is nephew to none other than Gruet founder Laurent Gruet and came up learning with his uncle. “With a strong background in New Mexico winemaking, Sofian brings an exciting perspective to our roundtable of experts that reflects his next generation thinking as well as his family’s deeply rooted heritage in the state,” says VARA CEO and GM JP Clement in a statement. Right on, buds. If you somehow hadn’t heard that VARA opened a Santa Fe tasting room last year, get the net (or read our story from that momentous time).
This is also a pretty OK Christmas jam.
-Let’s get a quick food recall item out of the way. Seems many a cantaloupe has been recalled in recent days over salmonella concerns. Though no cases have been reported in New Mexico, at least according to the FDA, we don’t know from where you’re reading this, so check the FDA site for all the current info. Additionally, a number of peaches, plums and nectarines have been recalled in various states due to listeria concerns.
-Do you get red wine headaches? If so, it turns out that the culprit might be the antioxidant quercetin, which you’ll find in cherries or grapes, and thus wine. In short, a new study from folks at UC Davis, quercetin and alcohol can cause headaches in some kinds of people. And though previous studies have blamed those pesky red wine headaches on sulfites or whatever the heck, these goobs in Davis think they’re really on to something. Fingers crossed, because if we have to stop drinking for even a minute, we’re totally going to freak out and start body slamming everyone.
-Since we’re now just throttling full-tilt into the hellmouth, Southwest Airlines has raised prices on its in-flight drinks by $2 per drink. Holy smokes. Remember when flying was kind of cool rather than a complete nightmare? Anyway, this brings many drinks up to $7 or $8, which is pretty intense considering you’ll likely be crammed in like sardines and desperately in need of some kinda something.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
In this week’s print edition of SFR, downtown restaurant La Mama does dinner, and it’s reportedly mind-bogglingly great.
Number of Letters Received
*That’s for two weeks, though, so shame on you!
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“what an immature and incredibly poorly written article….you write like a high schooler with a severely limited world view and vocabulary…..for example, can you make up your mind between “effing” and “fucking”? or maybe a more inventive adjective...and attacking Toby Keith….what a limited target….did you know [sic] has stomach cancer? hoping they don’t pay you for this drivel….you must write pro bono.”
*You kidding, reader Newtown? We get paid billions. We’re in a fur coat typing this right now while we remind people that cancer is awful as we wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but it doesn’t change that that video is creepy. Also, careful with those “poorly written” slings and arrows, bud, when you’re using ellipses—with too many dots, btw—like they’re going out of style. Still, thank you SO EFFING MUCH for reading!
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
“What is stunningly repeated over and over and over and...again is how many excellent to outstanding Santa Fe (defined as about 1 hour in each direction from SF) dining experiences are missed in these articles.”
*Reader Steven makes a good point about our previous Fork wherein we whined for ages about best restaurant lists over the years insisting upon listing the same few places all the dang time. Steven also gets how the noble ellipsis works.
Our daddy was a rattlesnake and our mama wore a six-gun,e
This is what happens when you get the net, though.