My turn: Green chile adds flavor to culture

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

“What’s the fascination with green chile?” a co-worker asked.

According to county natives:

“Other than the fact it’s just plumb good, it’s good for you. And it’s tradition. Everything’s better with green chile on it, the way I see it.” — Rick Ledbetter, chile grower.

“Green chile is our lifeblood! … I am completely and unabashedly addicted to it.” — Betty Williamson, Causey.

I’ve lived in New Mexico from about age 1 1/2, but I didn’t fully discover green chile until college. I don’t use it nearly as profusely as many people, but I definitely like it.

Chile adds flavor and zip to hamburgers, soup, potatoes … the list goes on. (Putting it in ice cream is kind of beyond me, though.)

Chile’s healthy, too — low in fat and high in nutrients.

It’s ingrained in New Mexican culture: food, agriculture, decorating, the way we see our state and portray it and its uniqueness to outsiders. Most natives have eaten chile all their lives.

Besides, chile is literally addictive, mildly. Capsaicin, the heat-causing substance, starts a chain reaction that leads to an addictive release of endorphins in the brain.

Does that explain anything?