Food Reporting Syllabus
Assignments 37 through 42

Steven Raichlen's BBQ USA
425 Fiery Recipes From All Across America
Collected by Steven Raichlen
Workman Publishing Company
© 2003

Weigh in on this one: 774 pages, 3.5 pounds may answer the oft-posed question...what is barbecue? Don't bet on it. The composer of this otherwise definitive labor of love admits there is "no single answer." He qualifies that position by detailing his coast-to-coast research travels across three nations... Mexico, Canada and his own home plates, grills and pits in his USA. His pit stops salute places in Hawaii, West Indies, San Jaun, P.R., Jamaica... even tony stops such as Aspen and White Sulphur Spings.

BBQ USA is barbecue the verb and barbeque the noun. It is history. It is everything relating to preparing all foods with fire and smoke, not just hog meat.

For any food writer who dreams of the ultimate travel book with food as a guide and lure, this is it. Conjure this, or if to be, conspire: Your editor approves an expense account to cover your trip from Maine to California. Mission: To experience barbecued everything from smelts to pork. Think about John Steinbeck's Travels With Charlie. He did it with a pickup truck. In your expensive dream and the theme of smoked pork up front in stops not to be in dining rooms with china and linens, best be it in a pickup. Blend in.

Say you found the story idea in Steven Raichlen's reporting.

Visit Steven Raichlen's Barbecue Bible Blog

Steven Raichlen BBQ USA
Fiery Foods That I Love
by Paul Prudhomme
William Morrow and Co.
© 1995

Review Forthcoming


Bonus 57:
Hot & Spicy:
Unusual, Innovative Recipes From the World's Fiery Cuisines
by Marlena Spieler
Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc.
© 1985

Review Pending

Bonus 58:
Dorinda's Taste of the Caribbean
African-Influenced Recipes From The Islands
by Dorinda Hafner
Ten Speed Press
© 1996

Review Pending

The Grilling Encyclopedia:
An A-Z Compendium of How to Grill Almost Anything
by A. Cort Sinnes
Atlantic Monthly Press
© 1994

Review Pending


Bonus 59:
A Bowl of Red
by Frank X. Tolbert
A Doubleday Dolphin Book
© 1983

Review Forthcoming

Bonus 60:
Great Bowls of Fire!
Hot & Spicy Soups, Stews & Chilis
by Dave DeWitt and W. C, Longacre
Ten Speed Press
© 1997

Review Forthcoming

Eat Your Colors
Maximize Your Health by Eating the Right Foods for Your Body Type
by Marcia Zimmerman, Certified Nutritionist
Henry Holt and Company
© 2001

This is not a book of recipes. Simply put, this is a beginner's course in how to avoid gray food. To make this collection it has to be different from the other 95 suggestions. It has to offer something of value to a food writer. Eat Your Colors qualifies on all points.

Bonus Bit: Updates will follow...

Eat the Heat
by Jonas Borssen
Ten Speed Press
© 1998

This was written for "chileheads in Europe" and is a writer's lesson relating to style confusion... confusion many times for editors. Chiles with the e is for those hot little peppers used in chili with the i-ending... chili as in a bowl of a hot, Scoville heat unit mix of ground meat, sometimes with beans and onions.

Chile or chili?

The chile gives the chili reason to exist. Savor. Author Jonas Borssen is a radio and television personality in Sweden. He praises the chile as indigenous to America's southwest "just as the truffle is a symbol of French gastronomy..." In this book he is introducing the chile as part of "a new culinary era" for Europe. Good for him.

The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook
The Traditional Cooking of New Mexico
by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison
Harvard Common Press
© 1991

A preface to the review of this book: In this 96-book collection, only this textbook gets double treatment, up front from the compiler of this syllabus and an in-depth study as the related restaurant is today. The latter by Carol Kizer, a professional food educator with a national reputation in culinary arts. She was the long time dean of culinary arts, Columbus State Community College.

Should you want to make a field trip:

Restaurante Rancho de Chimayó
On the Scenic High Road to Taos

County Rt. 98 in Chimayo, NM

Folk in my food circle keep mental lists of their favorite dining experiences. Starting in the 1960s when my review beat stretched across the lower 48, I started my Top 100, a list always in flux as travels multiplied. Rancho de Chimayó the restaurante, quickly became one of my most impressive destinations. I have spent years suggesting to friends they take the trip over a winding two-lane roadway from Santa Fe to what will be a unique food culture experience. The cookbook is more than recipes. Consider beautiful writing. Read it as a text for food and restaurant writers. The authors take you into the struggles of the founding Jaramillo family. The banks, their government, vendors refused to do business with the fledgling business.

Sound familiar?
— Doral Chenoweth

+ + + + +

Now, here's the report by Ms. Kizer:

Rancho de Chimayó offers wonderful New Mexico cuisine based on old family recipes in a charming Spanish style hacienda made of adobe bricks dating back to around 1890. There are several dining rooms, each with different colored tablecloths and a large outdoor terrace seating area.

Chimayó is an arts village more than 6,500 feet elevation that specializes in weaving. It is a small isolated town 30 miles north of Santa Fe through an extemely scenic narrow winding route in the midst of red rock country with cattle from the open range along sides of the roadway. Suggested: Make the trip in day light and take a camera.

I thoroughly enjoyed spending time talking with the owner of 37 years, Florence Jaramillo. She and her husband, Arturo, opened the restaurant featuring native cooking of the area in 1965 in Arturo's grandparents's home where he grew up. Florence Jaramillo has been a member of the National Restaurant Association board of directors for several years and was the first director elected from New Mexico. She was named the 1987 Restaurateur of the Year in the state.

In order to taste as many menu items on one visit as possible, I ordered the combinación tradiciónal, a combination plate with a rolled cheese enchilada, pork tamale, shredded beef taco, Spanish rice and beans topped with a choice of red or green chile (or both - called Christmas). While there is nothing unusual about this combination, the platter arrived beautifully presented and absolutely delicious in every way. I especially liked the cheese enchilada and the taco with properly prepared roast beef and warm melted cheese on top. What a value at $8.50, certainly higher today. My husband, Don, ordered the $9 sopaipilla relleno, a sopailla stuffed with beef topped with cheddar and chiles, along with beans, Spanish rice and guacamole. It was evident that nicely chunked gaucamole was freshly made. Our less adventuresome friend went Americano with the Chimayó steak, a 12-ounce ribeye, which he enjoyed. However, I did sample his house red ranch salad dressing - just the right touch of red chile.

Already on the table, when seated, was a small covered dish of honey which went perfectly with the fluffly sopaipillas served in a napkin-lined basket to all guests shortly after arrival. The cooks prepare as many as 4,000 sopaipillas on a busy day, all produced by hand. The restaurant's signature dish is Carne Adovada, although I didn't have it. It is among the spiciest and most popular items on the menu. A sauce made with whole dried red chile pods is placed over pork cubes, baked at least three hours until tender, and garnished with lettuce and tomato. It is served with posole, a dish created with dried corn kernels treated with lime (similar to hominy). The lunch and dinner menus are very similar, but with larger portion sizes in the evening.

New Mexico red chile grown in Chimayó is renowned for its balance of sweetness and (Scoville) heat. The native chiles are used in nearly all entrées served at the restaurant, but usually available on the side.

The Rancho de Chimayó cookbook, featuring a fascinating history and culture of the area as well as recipes and cooking tips, is still available on

— Carol Kizer