Author Liddie Martinez shares stories about the inspiration behind her new book, The Chile Line Cookbook: Historic Recipes of Northern New Mexico. (Book cover Poster in foreground.) Photo by Laura Gonzales
Local author Liddie Martinez captivated Rotary Club members earlier this week with her presentation about The Chile Line Cookbook: Historic Recipes of Northern New Mexico, recently released by Pajarito Press, co-owned by Nancy Bartlit and Mark Rayburn.
Her family history is deeply rooted in northern New Mexico, dating back to the 1500s, the years of Spanish colonization. Martinez explained that her inspiration came especially from memories of her grandmother’s cooking.
Although recipes were handed down generation to generation through observation and oral history, she felt compelled to write a cookbook when her son could not remember how to make red chile. She did not want the legacy of these northern New Mexico culinary traditions to be lost, as many were influenced by the migration of peoples along the El Camino Real from Mexico City to Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo (formerly San Juan Pueblo).
Recipe testings were conducted beginning at 4 a.m. Saturdays at her family farm kitchen in Espanola. As word traveled, neighbors began to appear before sunrise in their pajamas just to have a taste. The only criterion: “Does it taste like Grandma’s?”
Book-signing receptions have been held at Los Luceros, Los Alamos and Santa Fe. The Chile Line Cookbook: Historic Recipes of Northern New Mexico will be available during Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30 at projectY Cowork in Central Park Square.