Really Great Ingredients

Love, Luck & Irish Butter

Love, Luck & Irish Butter

I’ll not forget my first trip to Ireland. I went over, on my own and knowing no one there, in June of 1989. Although I can’t say I could tell at the time it was happening, that first visit was the start of a lifelong love affair with the place. I’m not really at all sure why it happened. I suppose in truth it doesn’t really matter—the thing is that it did. I guess that’s usually the way that sort of stuff unfolds. Whether you’re knowingly ready or not, something clicks and you find yourself, planned or not, with a connection that works, one that continues to build as you get to know more of the details and the depth behind the initial experience.

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A Guide to New Mexico Green Chile

A Guide to New Mexico Green Chile

While I was out there once somebody told me, somewhat facetiously, that “You have to understand. New Mexico isn’t like other states. Things that work everywhere else just don’t seem to work here.” I don’t know much about its infrastructure but I can tell you that one thing that does work in New Mexico is the food. It’s amazing. And it’s completely unique combination of flavors and foods—unlike anything I’ve ever found in any of the other 49 states, in Central America, or anywhere else for that matter. Start with blue, white, and yellow corn and add intensive use of red and green chiles. Add in a bunch of other exceptional ingredients like saffron and goat cheese, mountain honeys and herbs, and you’ve got yourself some phenomenal food. Tandy Lucero, who has four centuries of family in New Mexico, told me. “We’re like a country unto ourselves. There’s nowhere really like it.”

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Maraschino Cherries

Maraschino Cherries

If you think about it for more than 15 seconds, you’re going to quickly come to the conclusion that the super-processed, red-dye-number-whatever, cute little maraschino cherries that we all grew up with cannot possibly have been the original item. Just as cream cheese didn’t start out in foil packages with a one-year shelf life and a lot of stabilizer, so too there’s more to maraschino cherries than what they put into the cans of fruit cocktail.

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