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1 wrenchwench  Sat, Sep 28, 2013 3:00:55pm

I just spoke with a rancher/gun dealer that Mr. w bought a bunch of cast iron cook ware from. He told me about a deal he negotiated for a client in which he got the price of a collection down from $250,000 to $190,000. He’s selling much of his own collection because he’s pushing 80 and can’t hunt anymore. But he said he’d still go to gun shows ‘for the brotherhood’. He said, ‘99% of ‘em are great guys. And when I leave, it’s 100%’

So I hear you, and Bourdain, on the fun of the sport, and agree that gun owners and users should not be demonized. But I want to comment on another part of this piece.

The upcoming New Mexico show is not about guns. Though there are, as in much of America between the coasts, many guns there. This show is about the American cowboy ideal, about the romantic promise of the American West, about individuality, the freedom to be weird. New Mexico, where Spanish, Mexican, Pueblo, Navajo and European cultures mix and have mixed—at times painfully, lately more easily. New Mexico, where everyone from artists, hippies, cowboys, poets, misfits, refugees, and tourists, of every political stripe have interpreted the promise of its gorgeous, wide open spaces and the freedom that that offers in their own, very different ways. New Mexico is an enchanted land, where people are largely free to create their own world.

Americans are traditionally, by nature, suspicious—and even hostile—to government. Whether we admit it or not, we were, most of us, suckled on the idea that a “man” should solve his own problems—that there are simple answers to complex questions—and that if all else fails, taking the situation into one’s own hands—violently—is somehow “cleansing” and heroic. Whether playing cowboys and Indians as a child, or watching films—those are our heroes, our icons: the lone gunman, the outlaw, the gangster, the ordinary man pushed too far. That’s a uniquely American pathology. And even the ex-flower children who’ve escaped the cities of the East to put Indian feathers in their hair, turquoise around their neck—and a battered pair of cowboy boots are, on some level, buying in to that ethos of a mythical West.

The first of these two paragraphs mentions some of the cultures that together make up New Mexico. The second one, using ‘we’ a lot, only focuses on one of them, the European-descended cowboy culture. He needs to spend more time here and get comfortable with broadening his ‘we’.

2 wrenchwench  Tue, Oct 1, 2013 11:41:25am

Bourdain stirred a hornets nest with his Frito Pie comments.

[…]

After the store’s manager complained, Bourdain apologized, but only after pissing off most of the state, which relishes Frito pie as one of their culinary traditions. Hate to break it to you, New Mexicans, but the Frito pie ain’t New Mexican—not even close.

I’ve had the Five and Dime’s Frito pie, and it’s a fine specimen (although the chile relleno burritos sold in the cart in front of the store is better). But, by definition, the Frito pie isn’t New Mexican. Its base ingredients—Frito and chili—came from San Antonio. Kaleeta Doolin, daughter of Fritos founder Elmer Doolin (who bought the original Fritos recipe from a Oaxacan immigrant), has a recipe for Frito pie that her grandmother concocted back in the early 1940s, long before any New Mexican could cite it as their own. Not only that, the Doolins were notorious for making recipes based on Fritos—I still have a Life magazine clipping that is a Frito advertorial urging Americans to use Fritos as stuffing for their Thanksgiving turkey.

New Mexico has embraced the Frito pie tradition more than Texas—you can buy it from carts across the state. But ustedes are better off promoting your fabulous green chile cheeseburgers than a Texas import. And Russell: please don’t sic La Santa Muerte on me for writing the truth…


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