The Great Chile War

Hatch, NM logo. chile.
This says it all! (Logo for Hatch, NM)

New Mexico and Colorado usually get along just fine. In fact, the two states share ownership of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, which runs between Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado, and which many of the attendees of the Alamosa conference enjoyed riding.

However, a rivalry has developed over who has the best chile (or chili).

This fall, a small group planned a luncheon meeting in Chimayo, New Mexico. It was cancelled for several reasons, including the pandemic, and because New Mexico’s governor was demanding that visitors from certain high-risk states, including Colorado, self-quarantine for two weeks upon entering the state. It was agreed that in place of the luncheon we would raise our glasses in a toast on October 26.

Maryann Gaug, from Silverthorne, Colorado, RMOWP’s treasurer, objected to Colorado being considered high risk. Among those she complained to was Kelly Gatlin, of Datil, New Mexico, former RMOWP president and board member. What follows is their email exchange.

Kelly: Maryann, here’s the real reason them Colarady folks aren’t allowed across our state line: Your gov’ner has been making outrageous claims about your green chili being better than our’n. Supposed to come from someplace called Pee-ebla. I guess that’s close to Buuna Vista, over there by Del Nort. Now, it’s bad enough to butcher bonafide Spanish names for your towns, but when you cast aspersions on our Beloved Green Chile (with an “e”), them’s fightin’ words!

So, if you’re willing to denounce your leader’s egregious statements, I think we can make an exception for at least some of you.

Gotta have a nuther of them Margaritas, just for practice…

(signed) Kelly (native New Mexican doncha know)

Maryann: Well shiver me timbers, Kelly! I didn’t realize there was such a hot debate about Hatch vs. Pueblo (Pee-eblo?) green chiles!

Now our current governor, Jared Polis, is a jovial bloke and I’m sure he loves a good chile war. Up my way in the cold North and mountainous area of Colorado, I can easily buy your beloved Hatch chiles. Can’t recall those Pee-ebla versions at the Farmers’ Market.

BTW, do check your map. Buuna Vista and Del Nort ain’t so close to each other. We do love to slaughter Spanish pronunciations! My mom used to pronounce Tejon, Tee-john.

From the above tidbits of writing and journalism, sounds to me like I prefer the New Mexico Hatch chiles. Can I come to New Mexico now?

(signed) Chuckles, Maryann (native Coloradoan)

P.S. Governor Polis is a native Coloradoan, too, born in Boulder to the founders of Blue Mountain Arts, the greeting card and book publishing company.

Kelly: Bueno fine by golly, your good humor (plus admitting to buying Hatch chiles) opens the door for you!

And for the record, I do enjoy the cards from Blue Mountain Arts too!

(signed) Hasta, Kelly