Still Hungry?

Green Chile Corn Chowder_terraThe etymological confluence of the word soup and the word restaurant offers a satisfying story for chilly November days of waning light—and our Still Hungry? column. Apparently, in 16th century France, what we know of as soups were called “restaurants” (from the French verb restaurer, meaning to restore). “Restaurants” were advertised and the soups sold cheaply by street vendors as wellness remedies. A couple centuries later, a French businessman opened a shop that specialized in “restaurants” (essentially, consommés or soups!). His enticing call to action? Some Latin words inspired by and riffing on the well-known Gospel of Matthew narrative, “Venite ad me vos qui stomacho laboratis et ego restaurabo vos,” or, “Come to me you who are weary and I will restore you in the stomach.”

Fast-forward to today’s “shops that sell soup” in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and it’s not only the dine-in customer, but scores of hungry families, who benefit from the modern confluence of restaurant and soup. We’re talking about Souper Bowl, of course, that delicious January fundraising event presented by Albuquerque’s Roadrunner Food Bank and Santa Fe’s The Food Depot. For the last 20-plus years, participating restaurants have concocted soups in promising categories to be tasted by discerning soup-lovers, who pay to vote for their faves. Proceeds help both food banks to distribute food and manage food programs that assist hungry people and communities across New Mexico, which has been ranked among the hungriest states in the nation.

This Thanksgiving season—just in time for soup and gratitude, that delightful duo—we asked four of the recent Souper Bowl winners for a home-cook soup recipe, so that our readers could try their hand at restoring tummies. Thank you very much to Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen, Terra Restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado and Dinner for Two in Santa Fe, and to Bocadillo’s Slow Roasted in Albuquerque—congratulations on your fine food and philanthropic spirit, arguably one of the greatest approaches to restoration there is. Continue reading

In Chile We Trust

In Chile We TrustI admit that upon moving to New Mexico it took me longer than some to fully embrace the state vegetable. In fact, at the risk of losing my New Mexico residency card, I’ll go so far as to say that I still prefer my pizza and hamburgers to be chile free. Days can go by without a chile appearing on my menu, and my comfort food is more along the lines of risotto or mashed potatoes, sans chile, than it is mac and cheese with chile or a heaping plate of chile cheese fries. Chile has gradually crept into my diet, however, and I certainly don’t stare at the waitress with a blank look on my face and stutter when asked, “Red or green?” Chile rellenos and carne adovada, two dishes unheard of in the East, have become favorites. But I guess I’m kind of vanilla in my chile tastes—I like it on New Mexican food but not crossing over into other cuisines and, beyond the occasional breakfast burrito (usually eaten when there’s a tray of them at an early work meeting), it certainly doesn’t carry over into breakfast.

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