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Christmas in November

In New Mexico, waiters at Mexican restaurants always ask ?red or green? when one orders. While most non-natives would be confused at this, students in Sharon Scharf?s home economics classes know better.

Red or green simply refers to green sauce, made from fresh chilies, or red sauce, made from dry chili powder. If one decides to have both sauces, they say ?Christmas.?

?The idea for the project came from a class my husband and I took at the Santa Fe School of Cooking while on vacation in New Mexico last June,? Scharf said. ?I was so excited about it; I purchased the video of the class to show my home ec students.?

According to Scharf, the New Mexican-style sauces are a blend of Meso-American/Mexican, Indian, Spanish and other Western European influences. And typically the chilies fired in New Mexico produce a hotter sauce than typical Californian mix but not as hot as other Mexican sauces made famous by native Spanish speakers.

“I never knew you had to say ‘Christmas’ to have both sauces; and I’m Mexican,” Ashley Chavez, ’07, said. “I should have known that. I really like the green sauce because the red sauce is too hot. My aunt’s sauce is very hot so I like Mrs. Scharf’s better.”

The green sauce is made after the student fire roast the chilies and the red sauce is made from special New Mexico chili powder. Instead of buying corn tortillas, Scharf also instructed the class on how to make those as well.

So seasoned festive, ala Christmas, sauce-adorned tables have become a tasty, treat pre Thanksgiving for home ec students.

?I thought it was interesting,? Ashley Hall, ?08, said. ?I never knew that they called the two sauces ?Christmas? in New Mexico; it?s kind of funny.?

Scharf next week plans on discsussing how different cultures have influenced American cuisine. She will show a video which details how the Orient, the Mediterranean and French have altered how Americans think about food.

For more information on home economics class, contact Sharf at [email protected].

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  • A

    Andrew EvansAug 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Hey Doug, you’re a great athlete keep trying and you will have that record soon.

  • T

    Taylor BrouwerAug 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Run Doug run! Great job in your movie too, Doug!