We are what we eat, how we eat and where we eat. That concept is the focus of FUZE.SW, the still-shiny-new conference on food and folklore at Museum Hill, where the topic of Southwestern cuisine will be thoroughly chewed and digested from every possible perspective: sociocultural, archaeological, academic, traditional and culinary.
FUZE is the brainchild of Museum of New Mexico publicist Steve Cantrell, who dreamed up the original event as a way to promote and complement the 2013 exhibit New World Cuisine: The Histories of Chocolate, Mate y Más at the Museum of International Folk Art. That exhibit dealt with food of the Americas and the dialogue between native and introduced foods. The first conference was, according to Cantrell, enough of a hit that participants wanted to do it again.
“We also looked at how food is a lens which, in a very nonthreatening way, we can look at our culture,” Cantrell says. “Talking about the history of the Spanish in Mexico, people have heard that before.” But discussing how the Spanish influenced New Mexico with their food offers a different, more intimate, borderline feminist lens through which to view New Mexico history. Cantrell mentions the ladies in the kitchens who were responsible for the now-ubiquitous dishes of the local cuisine. “It was those ladies who created what we’re now eating at La Choza and Maria’s [New Mexican Kitchen],” he says.