Fall officially begins on Saturday, September 22nd this year. Raise your hands if you started decorating with gourds the last week of August. We see you and we deeply relate with your enthusiasm. You can bet your biscuits, that pumpkin spice ice cream, pancakes and pasta is already selling out. As the days get shorter, most people unpack the cozy socks, the apple cider scented candles and begin plotting their Halloween shenanigans. This sounds familiar in our house too, but what really kicks off fall for us is Hatch Green Chile season.
Every year since I was a kid, I can remember making an annual trek to Santa Fe, New Mexico to buy a bushel of the spicy, green fruit, only to haul it back to Denver to be cleaned and roasted. The smell of chili roasting and the sound of the skin crackling, is as familiar as the changing of the leaves. After the roasting comes the oddly soothing process of packaging. Picture our dining room table covered in Ziplock bags filled to the brim, left open to allow the hot chiles to sweat. What isn’t gifted to friends, finds its way in our freezer to last us until the next Labor Day Weekend. Green chile is a staple in our home and goes on anything from pizza to scrambled eggs. It is amazing chopped fresh with garlic and salt or converted into a thick sauce to cover burritos. But what really seals the deal is how it offers an element of nostalgia. I am reminded of my own mom and grandmother before me who went through the same processes. Their own hands burning from the peeling of the chiles as they remind themselves to refrain from touching their eyes. It is a process that connects me to family I’ve lost and to my own mom and sister who live a short distance away, as we go through the same motions together, yet apart each September.
So as we head into another season, our wish to you is an Autumn full of promise in the form of binge-worthy television (O Z A R K, Maniac and Camping), warm bulky clothing, hay rides, comfort food and whatever else fills your heart with nostagia this fall.
Your neighbor – Shaleen DeStefano