Saturday, May 24, 2008

Growing Up in New Mexico


I grew up in New Mexico. Another of my fondest memories is the day that I was finally allowed to eat real chile with my food. Now, this is not the more "modern" type of chile that you eat today. This was the sauce my grandmother made from the chile pods. I was about 5 years old, and I had been whining because I wanted some chile with my beans (frijoles) like everyone else had. My mother looked at my grandmother who looked at my grandfather who looked at my aunt who looked at my older cousins who looked at me. They were in agreement, finally! I could have some red chile with my beans and my meat. I looked in awe as my mother, in this rite of passage, dipped her teaspoon into the delectable sauce. She simply dipped the spoon into the sauce, then brought the spoon to my plate. She dripped 5 drops of red chile onto my beans. Everyone looked at me, remembering when they had those delicious drops of sauce put on their plates as small children. I put my spoon right into the spot where that first drop landed! It was delicious! I think it was the most delicious food I had ever had! I swirled it in my mouth savoring the taste. Then, it happened. I felt the burn! My mouth burned like it had never burned before. I cried. I yelled out, "Help!" My mother handed me a tortilla and told me to eat that. I did and the burn went away. By this time, everyone at the table was laughing. I was determined not to cry again. I looked them all in the eye, and I savored another bite, only this time more quickly than the last, and I ate some of my tortilla right away. Oh, it burned. It was hot chile, but I was determined to be a grown up for the rest of the meal, and I succeeded! My cousins congratulated me on eating my first chile. My mother just smiled at me. When my meal was over, I asked for an ice cream bar, and my grandmother handed me one. She just smiled as she watched me eat it to cool off my mouth. After that, I was invited to partake of the entire feast at each meal. Most of the time, I did. My tolerance for the hot peppers grew, and as I grew older, I could keep up with the best of them. Now, when I dig into that delicious product of the earth, the chile pod, I think of the first time when my mouth burned, and now I smile. Those memories are treasures.

4 comments:

Carl W. said...

Rosebud, I have longed wondered when, and how, native New Mexicans introduce their children to the fire and flavor of chile. I love chile. Red or green? I'll never be able to decide. I await the day I will introduce my young daughter to chile. My wife thinks I'm crazy to do so. Afterall, we are a couple of native easterners. But after traveling through New Mexico years ago, I became adicted to chile.

BTW, the beads on your blog are BEAUTIFUL!

Rita'z R-tistic Ramblez said...

Mallory, I loved your story about the chili. What a beautiful picture it paints. Made my mouth water and burn!! Thanks for sharing your memory.

Deb said...

Mallory - I absolutely love, love, LOVE this story from your childhood. It is just perfect & I can quite cleary picture the whole scenario in my head!
It always impresses me the way seemingly simple things & everyday occurances inspire you to make these wonderful beads - you look & see it, where others (like myself) fail to & then interpret it with such panache & a good dash of flair. Well done - again!

Deb said...

Mallory - I absolutely love, love, LOVE this story from your childhood. It is just perfect & I can quite cleary picture the whole scenario in my head!
It always impresses me the way seemingly simple things & everyday occurances inspire you to make these wonderful beads - you look & see it, where others (like myself) fail to & then interpret it with such panache & a good dash of flair. Well done - again!