The Artist Explores her Palette (and Palate)

I’ve moved across the country from the American SouthWest to the American SouthEast. It’s a transition that has broadened my palette (range of colors) and my palate (preference of flavors in food).

From the arid mountains and deserts and into the rolling hills covered in giant trees. I’ve perceived more shades of green than I ever believed possible! I paint in greens and golds lately, with ranges of orange. I can't help but think that these color choices come from the colors I'm surrounded by.  I finally understand the expression: “tall as a Georgia pine tree”, as there isn’t much taller than one.

New Mexican cuisine, for me, consisted of a few staples: green chile, red chile, and sopapillas. Chile peppers are a specialty crop for New Mexico. Grown in the southern part of the state. By August of each year, fresh green chiles are available in every grocery store by the pound, or by a giant burlap sackful. It can be purchased as is, or fire roasted outside after purchase. It smells wonderful, and has eternally marked the beginning of autumn in my mind. New Mexicans commonly stock up for the year, freezing and canning green chile.

I often crave my New Mexico staples, but I’ve found that although different, Southern foods can be equally delicious, in their own right. Below, my list of regional foods I’ve come to enjoy. There’s still much to try, but these are some of my favorites.

5.Grits. Served with butter, cheese, sugar or shrimp.

4. Pimento Cheese Spread. On sandwiches, or as an appetizer with flour tortilla chips.

3. Southern Fried Pickles. Yep, dill pickles, fried.

2. Biscuits and gravy. Fresh biscuits and delicious creamy gravy.

1. Chicken biscuit. As a sandwich, or open face smothered in gravy.