September Cuisine Scene

Gourmet Girl - September 10, 2014

FUZE.SW with Betty Fussell & the brand new Cheesemongers of Santa Fe

 Photo Courtesy: Bev

Betty Fussell @ FUZE.SW

FUZE.SW takes over Museum Hill September 12 through 14 with a schedule stuffed with talks, tastings, food demos, panels, keynotes and more. This year's theme is devoted to Native American foodways, so it's only fitting that one of  this years conference participants is award-winning author Betty Fussell, who wrote the quintessential book on corn. She'll participate in the Friday panel Corn: The Grain that Sustains Body & Soul and the Saturday panel Navajo Churro Sheep, Corriente Cattle, Bison and the Modern Rangeland and she'll also present the Saturday morning keynote, Our Appetite for Change—and its Consequences.

“Corn is the only grain that is also a vegetable and a fruit,” Fussell said during a phone interview from her Santa Barbara home about one of the staples of the Native American diet. “The diversity of its variety...plus the diversity of its uses make it absolutely singular as one of the three staples of the world's agriculture—corn, rice and wheat.”

Corn has long been an essential ingredient in New Mexico cuisine, from the Pueblo people to the Spanish Colonists, the Anglos and the award-winning chefs of contemporary cuisine. “Corn,  chile and chocolate—the basics have not changed,” Fussell said. “They're all essentially from Mexico, and so was the culture.”

Fussell has written 11 books that range from biography and memoir to food history and cookbooks and her essays on food, art and travel have appeared in  The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, Saveur, Vogue, Food & Wine and other publications. Her memoir, “My Kitchen Wars” was performed in Hollywood and New York as a one-woman show by actress Dorothy Lyman. Her most recent book is “Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef” and she's currently writing “How to Cook a Coyote: A Manual of Survival in NYC.”

“How to Cook a Wolf' is about survival, the ABCs of cooking and eating,” Fussell said. “I lived in New York City before moving to Santa Barbara after Hurricane Sandy. So this book is about eating out of the fridge and recycling absolutely everything.”

Fussell is excited about visiting Santa Fe for FUZE.SW. “I used to come to Santa Fe quite a bit,” she said. “The first winter I was in Manhattan, in 1981, I exchanged houses with a guy who lived in Santa Fe and I had my first blizzard in Santa Fe. I fell totally in love with Santa Fe on that visit. I fell in love with how the Native American culture was so visible.”

Fussell joins other acclaimed authors, chefs and historians for the second annual FUZE.SW, which also includes a Grandmothers Lunch of traditional Pueblo and Hispanic foods prepared by grandmothers; a food truck feast; tastings of piki bread, vegan hominy stew and Southwestern foods paired with local artisanal hard cider; talks about tacos, the humble bean, the New Pueblo diet, cooking and caring for micaceous pottery and much more. There's also a free Marketplace all day on Sunday, featuring New Mexico products as well as cooking demos, author signings, Native American dancers and more.

Welcome, Cheesemongers of Santa Fe

Great news for cheese lovers! Santa Fe is about to get a full-service, cut-to-order artisan cheese shop in the heart of downtown. When it opens later this month, Cheesemongers of Santa Fe will carry  more than 100 varieties of cheese, with an additional 50 added for the holiday season and about 95 percent of that cheese will be available for the first time ever in New Mexico.

The shop will also offer cured meats, antipasti, mustards, chutney, pickles and more, as well as a cheese plate with seasonal selections and a daily grilled cheese sandwich. You'll find jamón Ibéric, prosciutto di Parma, curated oils and vinegars and a selection of locally produced foods including bread, honey, jam and local chocolates. Cheesemonger also plans to offer classes for pairing cheese with wine, beer and liquor.

Owner/manager John Guiterriez, whose family is from Taos, knows his cheese well. He's worked for some of the top cheesemakers in the country, including San Francisco’s Say Cheese and Cowgirl Creamery, and also with Forward Foods in Norman, Okla. who are his partners in Cheesemonger.

"Cheese is fairly unique in the modern food scheme,” he says. “It's so simple in ingredients—milk, salt, rennet and culture. And yet it's one of the oldest foods that we eat today. It's been around for more than 6,000 years and some of the cheeses that we'll be selling have been around for 2,000 to 4000 of those years with little change. And yet, for being so simple, you can create immense amounts of flavors.”

Guiterriez has a few favorites, including monastic-style cheese, or washed rind, which is washed in a brine or beer, wine or cider and also sheep's milk cheese, which is higher in butter fat content than cheese made from cow or goat's milk.

Cheesemongers will specializes in small-scale and farmstead produced products and work with local and regional cheesemakers and bakers as well as producers of pickles, honey, mustard, chutney and other goods. Look for the shop to open in late September in a 1,000 square-foot space at 130 East Marcy St. See you there!