Red and/or Green

It’s an well-known joke in New Mexico that you can’t order anything at a restaurant without being asked, “Red or green.” The customer’s response tips off the waitstaff whether the individual is a local or new in town. Tourists will ask, “red or green… what?”

Chile, of course.

That’s chile with an “e,” not an “i.” Chili ingredients may include chiles, but chiles are not, on their own, chili.

Naturally, not every restaurant in the state has chiles in the kitchen and on the menu, so the humor comes with some hyperbole, but hot peppers are definitely a signature dietary staple here. The appropriate response to the red-or-green question is not “What?,” but “Which is hotter today?”New Mexico is known for growing a highly prized long green (aka Anaheim”) chile… so much so that chiles are as much a symbol of the state as roadrunners and biscochitos. But chiles aren’t responsible for all the reds and greens to be seen.

So in honor of the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I’ve spent the week’s daily walks on the lookout for iconic colors of the season that don’t grow on a pepper plant.Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve, and a Peaceful 2018.

[Thanks to the following photographers for making their work available through the Creative Commons license: Sharon Sperry Bloom, MJs Kitchen, Artotem, Rockin’Rita, Carla Lane, josephmccowieTadson BusseyTracy Rhodes, and Laura Taylor© 2017 Sidewalk Zendo. Reprints welcomed with written permission from the author.]

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