A good friend of ours recently commented about the current sad state of affairs where just about everything we choose, do or say can be judged on some kind of constantly shifting political scale. As she pointed out in her sage observation about the turmoil, “soon the New Mexico Question ‘red or green’ will become politicized.”
For those of you readers not familiar with the odd things that happen in New Mexico, we are probably the only state in the nation that has an “official state question,” passed by the New Mexico Legislature and signed by the governor several years ago. The question, “red or green?” has to do with providing your waiter at a restaurant your choice of red or green chile on or in your enchiladas, burrito, tacos, chalupas, steak, pizza, tamales, huevos rancheros, etc.
And it’s not a question to be lightly regarded. Next time you’re in a Mexican restaurant anywhere in New Mexico, observe someone who has just been asked that question. You may be amazed at how much time it takes many of them to come up with an answer — which they often change immediately after making their initial decision. In fact, entire tables have been known to shut down while someone dithers for minutes over the proper response as they consider heat levels, location where the chile was grown, reputation of the restaurant for accurately evaluating what is “hot vs tasty” and observing what the guy at the next table has just been served.
So let’s reflect on the question and its political ramifications. At first, you might want to assume that if someone orders “red,” they’re likely to be Republican. But I know Democrats who order nothing but red. And is “green” a sign that someone is on the left edge of the ledger for their beliefs about environmental issues? Of course, chile turns from green to red over time — possibly signaling a slow movement to the right because of age? And how do you interpret someone ordering red chile enchiladas on blue corn tortillas? A blue dog Democrat? A Republican for Biden?
What about my Republican friend who uses green chile in some mushy concoction he calls posole? How wrong is that? Red only for posole, thank you. And how about those who insist that red goes only on one type of dish and green on everything else? A one issue voter?
Full confession — I’m actually one of those who has ironclad rules on what goes with what. Red chile should never, ever, be ordered in the morning for huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos or anything else breakfasty. I mean, what kind of conspiracy weirdo wants red chile on their huevos rancheros? In my opinion, you can only order red for lunch if it’s in a carne adovada burrito. Well okay, I have had red enchiladas for lunch but only because everything else on the menu was frightening or insipid sounding. Either green or red are okay on most anything after lunch and for dinner. And don’t get me started on corn or flour tortillas. I mean really, corn tortillas on huevos rancheros are just dumb — it’s just like having enchiladas but calling them something different. Flour only for huevos rancheros!!! And when my daughter in Austin, Texas, orders “breakfast tacos” (Texas-speak for expensive mini breakfast burritos), they can specify corn or flour tortillas. Honestly, Texans telling US how to make real Mexican food??? And then they introduce all sorts of snooty, trendy ingredients to try to make a simple burrito into haute cuisine!!! Just tell ’em to stick to canned chile — and they can’t even spell that right!!!
Well, as you can see, I have launched myself into a downward spiraling rage over a subject that clearly is not as important as those issues which have unfortunately turned friends against each other and politicized our view of the world. I certainly have my opinions on red, green, flour and corn and while I firmly believe that I am absolutely correct — maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t be as judgmental and not get so wound up about these and other things. A good conversation over enchiladas between friends who listen and don’t taunt the other’s views might do us all a bit of good. And maybe have a sip of cold Corona beer to go with it. WHAT??? You like Dos Equis???!!!???
*For those out-of-staters, Christmas style is having both red and green chile in or on your favorite dish. I think it could be a sign that a person who choses this combination is a Libertarian. Or maybe they’re just wishy-washy. “:^)