The Fork

The Fork: Was it All a Dream?!

If we never ate these foods, why do we have the memories?

We Regret to Inform You We Are Still Alive

We wanted to take the intro section this week to address something that we’re seeing out there in online land, which is that we’re a new Fork or that the old Fork was fired...out of a cannon...into the sun.

Straight up? It’s still us. Which may lead you to wondering whether Le Forkette, The Spork and The Knoife are still out there. They are, too, but we’re using our considerable powers to keep them at bay for now. But seriously, to address any concerns that a different writer took over The Fork, they didn’t. It’s still us. We still say “brekkie b” and “jamie b’s” and we’re still all like, “put the power into the hands of the proletariat and toss The Man (TM) into a volcano!”

Still us. Y’all good? Good.

Anyway, we’d like to talk to you this week about weird things our mom used to make for us to eat when we were but a child so we can see if these things are normal. The impetus behind this was remembering that we thought we dreamed the 1985 movie Return to Oz starring Fairuza Balk (see trailer below) until just a couple years ago, so maybe some of those dishes were fever dreams. Could we call our mom and ask her? Probably, BUT WE WOULD NEVER DO THAT!

Cabbage, Potatoes and Weiners

Ol’ mom would steam up some cabbage with salt and pepper, toss it in with mashed potatoes and serve under boiled hot dogs. Is that real or did we dream it? Weirdly, as we type this, we can almost smell the cabbage cooking, but did you ever have anything like that? Is there an origin? Y’know, like a, “Well, since we’re trying to ration for the boys overseas, here’s what’s in the larder,” kind of thing?

Chile Relleno Casserole

Mom would essentially scramble up a big bowl of eggs, pour into a casserole pan (like a Pyrex thing, y’know?), add green chile and cheese all over and bake until done. We HATED this dish as a kid, or at least we have memories that we did. Oh. Em. Gee. We’ve even asked in restaurants where we’ve worked if this is a real thing, to which chefs have said, “Please. Leave.” Have we been Total Recall’d?!? Did someone plant these memories?

Chilled Shrimp Over Lime Gelatin

You know how shrimp are disgusting unless we’re talkin’ prawns and they’re battered and served betwixt edamame and sushi? Well, for some reason we have it in our head that dear mother would cook the smaller non-prawn shrimpies, let them chill overnight and then serve over lime Jell-O because it was “citrusy!” This one’s the hardest for us when it comes to deciding between real life and a dream, but why would we know the quote?!?! WHY WOULD THIS BE IN OUR HEAD?! We called to ask her about it and she said, “I don’t think I did that.” But again, we ask, WHY ARE WE AWARE OF IT, THEN?!

Dressing-Free Salad

Mother (which we say in the Mommy, Dearest sense) didn’t like salad dressing, so it didn’t exist in the house. We were, like, middle-aged before we knew the glory of a balsamic vinaigrette or that fun ginger dressing at Japanese joints. Why did she do this to us? Did we do it to ourselves? Salad shouldn’t be dry! Did anyone else have to contend with dressing-less salads, or was that just us?!

Gilbert Chocolate Cake

Mom’s brother Gilbert died pretty young, but apparently loved German chocolate cake (which is named for a guy named German, btw, and has nothing to do with Germany) so much that she called it “Gilbert Chocolate Cake,” which we did until we were way older than we’d like to admit. We don’t have to tell you that the first time we ordered this in a restaurant the worker was like, “Please leave.” Did anyone else’s family have special food names like this, or are we dreaming?

Peanut Butter Tortilla Served Cold

Mom would literally slather Skippy in a not-warm tortilla and hand it over like it was a real snack. Then she’d look us dead in the eye and be like, “What the hell are you going to do about it, you little dweeb?!” And we wept! Couldn’t she have heated the tortilla? The peanut butter would have melted, you’re thinking? YOU THINK WE CARE?! Did your mom do this, or are we manifesting nightmares?

BONUS ITEM: Dad Tries to Make Steaks

This isn’t so much a “did this exact thing happen to you?” thing and more of an anecdote: It isn’t that we grew up in one of those nuclear households where only mom cooked while dad tried to keep people from knowing his real name is Dick Whitman, but rather that dear old dad sucked so much at making food that we all agreed to keep him outta the kitchen. Like, if this guy poured cereal into a dish, it caught fire. Anyway, he tried to make steaks once, we think—still not sure if this is real—and for some reason used apple butter in making it like it was a pork chop or something. So when this tasted bad—and this is true—he washed the steaks off in the sink and put them back in the pan with an un-minced, un-sliced, un-mashed, un-peeled garlic clove, like its very existence in the pan was somehow helping. Smoke was starting to pour into the house and our pet cockatiel Jeffrey was FREAKING OUT and screeching. For some reason, we recall there was a Puccini aria playing in the background. The steaks themselves started to resemble hockey pucks or something. We ate Happy Meals that night, dear readers, and we laughed heartily in the our stupid dad’s face. Love you, dad, wherever you are! Oh, he’s not dead...he’s just in another state...dying.

But we’re still alive, so be cool, babies, shit!

Yeah, Return to Oz messed us up. It’s actually quite terrifying if you’ve never seen it.


  • Restaurant Week is finally popping off. You might recall we told you about it roughly 3,000,000,000 times in the lead-up. The week is actually 10 days, too, so you’ll have til Feb. 29 to eat at participating eateries.
  • Sweet Santa Fe just won a whole mess of Scovie Awards (them’s the awards for things that are spicy and tasty, of which Sweet Santa Fe has more than 40; the name is derived from the Scoville Scale, which ranks the spiciness of peppers and such) which we learned about through a passive-aggressive social media post that reads, in part, “none of the newspapers want to cover it.” As much as things like that make us want to do literally anything but kick off coverage, we do think it’s notable that the Southside sweet shop won numerous nods for their blackberry balsamic truffle and enchanted chile bark, as well as for the mint chocolate chip truffle, chile lemon truffle and several others. There. Covered.
  • This is an Albuquerque thing, but y’all should know that Food Truck Fridays are returning to that city’s downtown area. Shockingly, the event (which kicks off March 8 and runs until...some point) is set to pop off on Fridays and, on those Fridays, food trucks come. Whoever named this thing really did a good job in getting all the info right there for folks. We can see the Albuquerque Journal headline now: “Fortunate Folks Fast and Furious to Flock to Food Truck Fridays For Felicitous Fun, Friendship, Fare and Flavor.” Oh, also, did you know that if you own a food truck and want to apply, you can do that here? From there, it’s a lottery with a drawing taking place on Feb. 26. Then they’ll probably call or email you or something.
  • Speaking of Albuquerque, we were saddened to hear about the death of restaurateur Jeff Spiegel who succumbed to leukemia on Feb. 20 at 77. Spiegel was perhaps best known as the founder of M’Tucci’s Restaurants, which had locations both in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, though he had a rich restaurant life in New York City before coming to New Mexico. Word on the street is that Spiegel’s employees really liked and respected the guy, which suggests to us he was pretty cool. Safe travels, bud.
  • Seems the St. Michael’s Village West shopping center might soon have a new sushi joint, and we’re all about it. Eagle-eyed readers tell us they’ve seen a temporary sign pop up for the forthcoming Joy’s Sushi Bar. We don’t have any info on when that’s happening (there isn’t a website out there yet, at least not that we could find), but we’ll always try new sushi when we can and we’ll always tell you more when we know more about things.
  • Very nice readers have also informed us about Maya’s Mushrooms, a fungi biz that is reportedly supplying chefs and restaurants and chefs from restaurants and also folks who attend the Eldorado Farmers’ Market. Goddammit, we love a good mushroom, so we’re gonna find out more. In the meantime, check out the Facebook page.

Take away the whole “I think it’s always just kind of been around,” mentality you likely have about Hungry Hungry Hippos and think about how objectively freaking weird it is as a game concept. This is a thing that exists!

More Tidbits

  • This one’s for everyone who acted like a world without Choco Tacos was unthinkable when the frozen treat was discontinued in 2022: Taco Bell has partnered with Oregon-based ice creamery Salt & Straw for a limited run of the iconic ice cream novelty, and apparently we’ll see ‘em this summer on some Taco Bell menus. Meanwhile, Klondike, being the company that makes Klondike bars, isn’t about to bring back the Choco Taco, much to the chagrin of internet dorks who act like waxing philosophical about a treat is the same thing as having a personality.
  • Ruh-roh, burger fans—it seems the Finnish Food Safety Agency has warned against eating burgers that aren’t well-done. Oh, it’s well-done? OK, cool. Anyway, it would seem Ruokavirasto (that’s the name of the agency) is all like, “Grrrrl, I wouldn’t eat burgers cooked to less than 140 degrees, because then you’re at risk for STEC, a toxin-producing E.coli bacteria.” That’s obviously not a real quote, but yikes! Now, we’re sure those dudes out there who yell at everyone about grilling all the time will feel the need to tell everyone they grill all the time and they’ve eaten burgers every dang day since the dawn of time, but we just think this is interesting and worth knowing about, so nobody yell at us.
  • Food fans might be sad to learn that iconic New York City chef David Bouley died on Feb. 12 at 70. Bouley was perhaps best known for the restaurant that bore his last name, but also as an early fan of working directly with farms, fisherfolk and growers. Cheffing ain’t easy and we wish his family well.
  • We can’t tell you how we know right now, but one of our spies tells us that Californians (and other states later, maybe) might want to be on the lookout for incoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pizzerias that straddle the fence between fast casual food and the theme park experience. While the chances of Santa Fe getting something like that are utterly non-existent, we still think that sounds like fun. We don’t even have a link to this info because it’s so freaking insider that it’s unbelievable. But mark our words—it’s gonna happen.
  • Writer Kate Nelson (Tlingit) has a real banger piece over on Civil Eats-dot-com about how the Land Back movement might affect foodways—Indigenous or otherwise. We really recommend reading this one. If you’re not familiar with the Land Back movement, that’s a good thing to read up on, too!

A totally scientific breakdown of The Fork’s correspondence

In this week’s print edition of SFR, food coverage takes a holiday, but you can still find lots to read at

Number of Letters Received: 24

*Nobody complained about burgers, so that’s good.

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader):

“It’s crazy, right?”

*Another week, another context-free message from a Fork Fren (TM)

Actually Helpful Tip(s):

The Plaza Café Southside green chile cheeseburger is apparently out of control good, so we think we’re gonna hit that one up next and see what happens.

*Thanks to the numerous readers who insisted we eat that thing

From dreamland,

The Fork

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