Na­tive notes

Pasatiempo - - AMUSE-BOUCHE - by Molly Boyle

It feels rather on the nose to ex­am­ine the bur­geon­ing na­tional Na­tive Amer­i­can food trend from a perch in North­ern New Mex­ico, where much of our lo­cal cui­sine bears some indige­nous in­flu­ence, but here we have it. In re­cent months, The New York Times, Na­tional Ge­o­graphic, and The At­lantic have ex­plored a resur­gence of in­ter­est in Na­tive cook­ing and in­gre­di­ents, while Travel + Leisure came to Santa Fe to probe the lo­cus of Na­tive cook­ing. Mean­while, in Septem­ber, the Mu­seum of In­dian Arts and Cul­ture hosted a two-day sym­po­sium on re­claim­ing Na­tive health and well­ness tra­di­tions called The Food Sovereignty Project.

Chef Edgar Beas of the Anasazi Restau­rant at the Rose­wood Inn of the Anasazi (113 Wash­ing­ton Ave.), one of a very few restau­rants in town that cur­rently aims to show­case uniquely Na­tive in­gre­di­ents and cook­ing tech­niques, traces the in­ter­est in an­ces­tral cui­sine to the lo­ca­vore and farm-to-ta­ble move­ments. Beas said that more and more, “Cus­tomers ap­pre­ci­ate how ev­ery­thing’s grown and where it comes from. I think the Na­tive food thing is maybe an ex­ten­sion of that.” In the win­ter months, Beas fo­cuses on dry lo­cal in­gre­di­ents with Na­tive roots, such as blue corn­meal, Anasazi beans, and red chile, as well as an­cient culi­nary tech­niques like smok­ing with nee­dles and cook­ing over stone. As the weather warms, he’ll for­age for ju­niper berries, wild mush­rooms, and flow­ers. He’s not alone: Chef John Rivera Sed­lar of Eloisa (228 E. Palace Ave.) fo­cused a re­cent sem­i­nar on lo­cal Na­tive corn­meal grow­ers. “We’re all kind of be­ing ex­posed to that more now,” Beas said, prov­ing that how­ever ironic a Na­tive food trend might seem in the land of the An­ces­tral Pue­blo, there’s al­ways room to learn.

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