America by food

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

A hearty stew is often best with a variety of ingredients and so it must be with a cultural stew centered around food.

The main ingredient to start that cultural stew in Portales arrives Tuesday as the New Mexico National Guard delivers the Smithsonian Institute’s latest traveling exhibit, “Key Ingredients, America By Food.” to Eastern New Mexico University’s Golden Library, where it will open Saturday and run through April 4.

The exhibit is a part of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program, which is administered with the assistance of state humanities councils. It celebrates the country’s food experience by looking at the history and cultures that have shaped it as well as the technology and agricultural innovation that has constantly changed the key ingredients available to Americans.

With five areas within the exhibit, and a variety of interactive displays, promoters say visitors can expect the full experience to take about an hour.

The exhibit will visit 150 rural communities throughout the country. Portales is the last of six communities in New Mexico.

Merlene Olmsted, a professor in ENMU’s Family and Consumer Science department, is heading up the exhibit’s visit in Portales which is sponsored by her department, the Roosevelt County Cooperative Extension Service and the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce.

“It seemed like such a fabulous topic,” Olmsted said. “Humanities topics sometimes don’t always touch people. I thought, my, food, everyone can talk about food. How could we let this go, when would we ever have this opportunity again.”

Olmsted said that the New Mexico Humanities Council chose the communities in New Mexico who would get the exhibit and as part of the commitment that group wanted to see local events organized around the exhibit’s visit. Olmsted and the other organizers on her committee took that request to heart and admit they’re now viewed as over-achievers by the Council for their long schedule of events.

Utilizing various departments from the university the talents and activities already planned by the Extension Service and the contacts of the Chamber a very full schedule of activities has been outlined.

Those activities range from art exhibits by both ENMU and public school students, historical programs with a food angle and a local connection, movie and book events related to food, Kid’s Day, Local Flavor Day, an Iron Chef competition, healthy eating topics and, of course, lots of food.

“The staff and faculty (at ENMU) have really gotten behind it, school groups are getting involved, it’s hundreds of people who have volunteered,” Olmsted said. “We’re trying to look at food with as rounded a perspective as possible. Yeah, so we’re over-achievers, but not every other community has the resources to draw from that we do.”

Connie Moyers, extension home economist with the local extension service agrees that it’s a great topic and a good opportunity to remind people of the history and heritage involved with food.

“This whole area’s lifeblood has been agriculture,” Moyers said. “And food is the whole nation’s lifeblood. We just don’t often connect them up well.”

Moyers, who is on the committee working on the events surrounding the exhibit, will be doing several programs focused on healthy eating. She will present “Eat Smart Cooking” on Feb. 26 at the annual Ag Expo and she will lead a discussion after the viewing of the movie “Supersize Me” March 2 at Golden Library and a diabetic cooking school March 31 at ENMU.

“We do a lot of work with healthy eating and that’s (Key Ingredients) a good way to bring that into play,” Moyers said. “To me it’s just a way to reach an audience we wouldn’t necessarily reach.

Moyers says everyone probably has room to make improvements in their eating habits and she’s hopeful through the programs that will be presented that fact will be driven home to people.

“Sometimes we eat too fast,” Moyers said. “We don’t even stop and enjoy the meal.”

Opening day activities begin at 2 p.m. Saturday with a reception, a ribbon-cutting and jazz band along with the opening of the juried art show “Food Poisoning,” featuring food-themed art of all types from ENMU art students. A food-related quilt show will also open that day along with “100 Years of Aprons” a local exhibit of aprons and other relics from local kitchens.

At 3 p.m. Saturday Rebbecca Gossett, a senior FCS student at ENMU will present a food demonstration entitled, “Sweet Potatoes or Yams.” Following the demonstration Greg Erf, art professor at ENMU and a member of the committee working on restoration of the Historic Yam Theater in Portales will give a program on the theater.

The exhibit will be open seven days a week during regular library hours. A group of 42 local docents (guides) has been put together and will be available to enhance a visit to the exhibit from 2-4 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. daily. All events are free and open to the general public.

Key Ingredients Schedule
• 2:00 p.m. Opening Ceremony Golden Library, ENMU
• Mayor Ortega proclaiming “Key Ingredients Day”
• Ribbon cutting
• Welcome by ENMU President Steven Gamble
• Jazz Band performance
• ENMU Art Show, “Food Poisoning” opens
• 2-4:30 p.m. Reception, Golden Library
• 2-5 p.m. Food Related Themed Quilt Show
• 2-5 p.m. FCS Poster Session: “Culture, History, and Nutrition of Native America and Mexican Food in New Mexico”
• 2:30 p.m. “100 Years of Aprons” Exhibit opens
• 3 p.m. “Sweet Potatoes or Yams?,” food demo, room 141
• “History of Yam Theater” (begins after Demonstration)
Feb. 24
• 7 p.m. Movie and Discussion: “Like Water for Chocolate” Rated “R”
Location: Golden Library, Room 141
Feb. 25
• Display of second and fifth graders food art pictures, library foyer,
Schools: Portales, Texico; Farwell
• 7 p.m. Free movie “Ratatouille” Rated “G”
Location: Golden Library, Room 141
NM Ag Expo Feb. 26-27
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Roosevelt County Fairgrounds
Feb. 26
• 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Presentation and Exhibit: “Antique and present Peanut Digger/Harvest Machinery”
• 11:00 “Eat Smart Cooking” Cooking school with samples
Location: Jake Lopez Building
• NMSU Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum and Chuckwagon
Cooking & Samples, ongoing
• Antique tractors and farm equipment exhibit, ongoing
Feb. 27
• 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Presentation and Exhibit: “Antique and present Peanut Digger/Harvest Machinery”
• Antique tractors and farm equipment exhibit, ongoing
Feb. 28
• 7:00 p.m. “Our Gift from Spain: How Mediterranean Plants and Foods Came to New Mexico” Slide Presentation.
Location: Golden Library, Room 141
Feb. 29
• 7:00 p.m. Portales City Library, meeting room. Introduction of One Book: One Town — “Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.”
March 1
• 1:30 p.m. Tours – “Early History Food and Food Procurement”
• Tour: Blackwater Draw Museum
• Tour: Blackwater Draw Archaeological site
• Tour: Miles Anthropological Museum
Location: Meet at Golden Library Lobby
March 2
• 6 p.m., Iron Chef Competition for students living in San Juan Village
Location: Meet in Family and Consumer Sciences Department Building, room 98 and 99
• 7 p.m. Movie and Discussion: “Supersize Me” Rated: “PG 13”
Location: Golden Library, Room 141.
March 3
• Display of second and fifth graders food art pictures.
Schools: Clayton, Clovis, Roy, Mosquero.
• Begin display of Jan Hauptmann donated cookbook collection
• 7 p.m. Free movie: “Moonstruck” Rated “PG”
March 4
• 7 p.m. “Body Image Related to Obesity” Power Point presentation
Golden Library, Room 141
March 8
Saturday KIDS’ DAY
• 1:30-3:00 p.m. Reception
• 1:30 p.m. Welcome and Orientation
• 1:40 p.m. Food Songs
• 1:50 p.m. Dance and music
• 2:30 – 4:20 p.m., multiple activities
• Treasure Trunks
“Spanish Frontier Family-Historical”
Golden Library, Room 110
• “Foodways”
Golden Library, Room 228
• Story Time for Preschoolers,(food-related stories)
Golden Library, lobby, north end
• Food Art Display Portales Junior High
• Digestive system, mini clinic. Interpretative dance.
• “Cooking with Kids”
Meet in Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences Foods Lab
• 3:00 p.m. “Food, Nutrition, and People in New Mexico: Then and Now”
Golden Library, Room 141
March 9
Local Flavor Day — Food and crops of eastern New Mexico. All activities will occur in the Campus Union Building, Ballroom. Each event will be repeated at least once.
1:30 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.
• “Better Beef Means Buying Local Beef”
• “Milk Economics and Health”
• New Sunland Savory Peanut Betters.
• “Cultivating and Harvesting.”
• “Cooking: Organic and Meatless.” Boca Burgers
March 10
Display of second and fifth graders food art pictures.
Schools: Dora, Elida, Floyd, Grady, House, Ft. Sumner, Melrose, Santa Rosa.
• 7 Free movie: “Big Night” Not Rated
Location: Golden Library, Room 141.
March 11
• 7 p.m. “Ethics of Animals Used for Human Consumption”
Golden Library, Room 141
March 13
• 7 p.m. “Food Comedy” ENMU Theater Students.
Location: Music Building, Buchannan Hall
March 17
Display of second and fifth graders food art pictures.
Schools: Carlsbad, Carrizozo, Hobbs, Loving, Lovington, Hobbs
• 7 p.m. Free movie: “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” Rated G
Golden Library, Room 141
March 18
• 7 p.m. “NuMex Garnet Chile” demonstration
Location: Golden Library, Room 141
March 20
• 7:00 p.m. Food-related Choral Repertoire
Location: ENMU Administration Building
March 21
Display of second and fifth graders food art pictures.
Schools: Capitan; Cloudcroft, Dexter, Hagerman, Hondo Valley, Lake Arthur, Roswell, Ruidoso
March 31
Display of second and fifth graders food art pictures.
Schools: San Jon, Clayton, Santa Rosa, Tucumcari
• 6-9 p.m. “Kitchen Creations, A Cooking School for Diabetics and Their Families”
Location: Family and Consumer Sciences Dept., Room 98
Course continues: April 7, 14, 21
Class is free; limited to first 25; pre-registration required
For more information call Connie Moyers 356-4417.
• 7:00 p.m. One Book/One Town: Community Book Discussion, Fast Food Nation.
Location: Meet at Portales Public Library, 218 S. Avenue B
• 7:00 p.m. Free movie: “The Scent of Green Papayas” Not Rated
Location: Golden Library, Room 141
April 2
• 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sodexo Lunch “American Food”
Location: Campus Union Building-Cafeteria
• 1:30 p.m. Ice Sculpting
Location: Campus Union Building-Dallan Sanders Patio
April 3
NMAFCS Annual Meeting
Location: First United Methodist Church
• 2-5 p.m. Food-Related Food Poster, Research Session
• 5:10-6:30 p.m. “Eat Smart Cooking” cooking school
• 6:45 p.m. Iron Chef Competition and Mixer
(Must be pre-registered to participate in this event)
Location: Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences, Foods Lab, ENMU, rooms
98, 99, 100
• 7:30 p.m. “The Skinny on Organic Valencia Peanuts”
Location: FCS Dept., Room 100
April 4
NMAFCS Meeting Continues at Methodist Church
• 1:25-2:10 “Organic Food, Fact or Fiction”
• 2:15-3 p.m. “Organic Food, Fact or Fiction”