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Preface: a gourmand in the desert

My fifteen years in the San Francisco Bay Area made me a foodie, always trying to find the best restaurants. Now I live in Socorro, New Mexico, population 10,000, 40 miles from the nearest larger town (Belen) and 70 miles from Albuquerque. Although I love Socorro and would rather live here than anywhere, when I left California I have to admit that the prospect of leaving all those great Bay Area Indian, Japanese, Chinese and Thai places was not very cheery.

Still, though, I looked forward to some aspects of Socorro cuisine, especially the green chile. Life without green chile is not worth living, and it's hard to find outside the middle Rio Grande Valley.

So how do I cope? Well, for some cuisines, there's no choice but to learn to make it yourself. Living in a small town is a great incentive to learn to cook. I'd probably never have learned to cook if I'd lived in California all my life. This town has a lot of great cooks—most of the home cooking I've tasted in this town is far superior to almost any restaurant fare.

With the help of some of Albuquerque's excellent grocery stores, and a few outstanding cookbooks, I can put out passable Chinese and Indian dishes, although I don't generally go to the effort except for major parties and other special occasions. I'm no kind of cook, but I can follow a good recipe.

But I still eat out a lot. If you're picky, I think you can eat out quite well in Socorro, and even the most spoiled foodie can find lots of outstanding options in Albuquerque.

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John W. Shipman,
Last updated: 2010/11/26 20:29:41