Taos Hum Column for Local Flavor Magazine

Meet the people who make Taos hum in my monthly profiles column for the Santa Fe magazine Local Flavor.

→  Clip: Author and filmmaker Allegra Huston and rafting guide Cisco Guevara of Los Rio River Runners (May 2012)
→  Clip: Chef Karen Todd
of the Dragonfly Cafe and Taos Pueblo photographer Bruce Gomez (June 2012)
→  Clip: Author Cherie Burns and artist/musician Frederick Aragon (July 2012)
→  Clip: Taos Pueblo artists Jeralyn Lujan-Lucero and jewelry designer Jacqueline Gala (Aug 2012)
→  ClipAuthor John Nichols and fishing guide Taylor Streit (Sept 2012)
→  ClipLiterary muse Dori Vinella
and balloon guide Ed Smith (Oct 2012 )

Strictly Old School

Old School Skills for Today
by Tania Casselle

If you’ve never canned produce, made your own buttermilk or soap, or gathered eggs from your backyard chickens, the Old School in Albuquerque could be the place to learn how.  The Old School offers classes in the kind of “frugal, traditional, and sustainable living skills” that our great-grandparents might have known, but that we, in our reliance on the supermarket checkout, have lost.

“Gardening is very spiritual,” says Chuck Alex, Old School’s gardening and composting teacher. “Having your hands in the dirt, nurturing the plant and then eating it, incorporating that into your body. Our society has lost touch with some of the hands-on practical DIY techniques, and people are really enjoying getting back in touch with those things.”

→  Full Clip of Old School Skills feature in the April 2012 issue of Local Flavor magazine.

Albuquerque Road Trip

Albuquerque Family Road Trip
by Tania Casselle

After enduring the first part of a cold winter and with spring still around the corner, make a break for it and hit the road to the Duke City. The family that plays together, stays together, and Albuquerque has plenty to entertain everyone, from a rousing basketball game, to high-flying balloon adventures, or a quiet moonlight hike spotting wildlife in the bosque.

Check out our picks for February family fun, and because Albuquerque is reliably milder than Rio Grande regions farther north, you might just decide to stay on till the thaw. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…

Read the full Albuquerque Family Road Trip article to find out how to fight cabin fever with a weekend away. Assignment for Local Flavor magazine, February 2012.

Physicians to Farmers: Talon de Gato

Talon de Gato Farmers for Local Flavor magazine
by Tania Casselle

“I spent 20 years working in a room without windows,” says retired anesthesiologist Adam Mackie. He’s certainly making up for it now. Working the Talon de Gato farm with former public health physician Steve Jenison, he gets as much open air as he can handle.

Talking to the duo in Apodaca, a tiny community on the Embudo river near Dixon, New Mexico, it becomes clear that their path from physicians to farmers was a gradual one.

Read the PDF article on the Talon de Gato farmers and founders of the Dixon Seed Exchange. May 2011.

Still Hungry?

Professional Gardeners in the Kitchen

Who better to share their recipes than the people who help us grow the ingredients? These gardening experts and enthusiastic home cooks nurture their produce from seed to table. They stepped out of their greenhouses and into their kitchens to reveal a few of their favorite food tricks, and twists on traditional recipes.

Read the full Still Hungry? article with four recipes: Cincinnati Chili, Vegetarian Blue Corn Posole, Cream of Green Pea Soup with Lettuce, and a Pumpkin Pie which turns the accidental purchase of the wrong milk into the secret ingredient that makes this pie a hit.



Tasty Traditions

Tasty Traditions
Book review and author profile by Tania Casselle

Potica bread, latkes, and beef stewed in Coke. Perhaps not the first dishes that spring to mind when you think about New Mexican food, but author Sharon Niederman knows better. She shares the story behind her new book New Mexico’s Tasty Traditions: Recollections, Recipes and Photos.

The people she meets would probably not describe themselves as foodies. They’re just regular folk who eat well, whether in neighborhood diners, at a ranch cookout, or by following time-honored recipes handed down in the family.

Read the full Tasty Traditions feature for Local Flavor magazine, February 2011.

Duke City Family Fun

Duke City Family Fun

Dinosaurs, snakes, sharks, amusement park thrills… this summer’s pick of kid-friendly Albuquerque destinations to help your family keep their cool, keep your bank account chilled out, and leave your brood thoroughly exhausted… I mean, entertained.

Read the full Duke City Family Fun feature on attractions and activities for kids at Local Flavor magazine, June 2010.


Kettlebell Fitness


It’s a Saturday morning in the L-shaped studio of Santa Fe’s Dynamic Kettlebell Fitness. About 30 students are swinging their kettlebells under the direction of trainer Keira Newton, and despite the rigor of the workout, nobody groans, complains, or tries to sneak a moment’s downtime when Newton’s back is turned. In fact, she has to keep admonishing them to hold back when they’re too eager to launch into the next round. “You’re not going yet, y’all. Hold on, hold on.” She clicks her stopwatch to start the new series of movements (“Use your breath, not your momentum!”) and then, when the timed period is over, has to rein in the over-zealous once again: “Stop! You’re done, you’re done!”

Read the full Kettlebell Fitness article for Local Flavor magazine’s health and fitness issue, March 2011.

Artisan Farmers: On the Road in Farm Country

Artisan Farmers: On the Road in Farm Country

Take one food producer and farming specialist: Lisa Fox of Southwest Chutney. Add one writer: Richard Harris, author of 41 books, most of them travel guides. Stir, blend, and send them out to tell the story of New Mexico’s farmers. The resulting dish was the book Artisan Farming: Lessons, Lore, and Recipes.

But perhaps the most interesting part of this recipe is hearing these two authors from very different backgrounds talk about what they learned on the road. Read the full Artisan Farmers article for Local Flavor magazine, May 2010.

El Meze Restaurant in Taos

Moor Flavor

I’m sitting on the patio of the new El Meze restaurant in a historic hacienda under Taos Mountain. It’s sunset, the atmosphere is as mellow as my glass of Rioja. Waiters hush past carrying bowls of fried green olives stuffed with Spanish blue cheese, and steaming sopa verde piled high with mussels. Then chef Frederick Muller swings out of the kitchen, looking Matador sharp in his black chef coat, and shares a few words with each table. All I can say is: Welcome back Fred. It was worth waiting seven years for this.

Read the full PDF feature on El Meze and Chef Frederick Muller, formerly of Taos’ legendary Fred’s Place, and the Moorish influence on New Mexico’s cuisine.  For Local Flavor magazine.

This article won the New Mexico Press Women’s Award 2009 for Food Writing.