LOCAL HEROES Every year edible Santa Fe recognizes a group of amazing individuals and organizations for their work to create a healthy, sustainable food system in New Mexico. We determine these Local Hero awards through reader nomination and a reader poll. The local food movement is a grassroots effort that often involves late nights, backbreaking work, getting your hands
dirty, checking your ego at the door, and generally being a good sport. In an effort to showcase these individuals, organizations, and businesses for their work to build a stronger local economy and a robust local food system, each issue of edible spotlights several of the winners and the work they do.
Cheryl Alters Jamison BEST FOOD WRITER
Photo by Stephanie Cameron.
Cheryl Alters Jamison is an award-winning author, contributor for New Mexico Magazine, and host of “Heating It Up: Exciting Food Talk” on KVSF 101.5 (Hutton Broadcasting). She has helped introduce the food of New Mexico to the world through her prose for three decades. When she’s not writing, she acts as director for Santa Fe nonprofit Cooking with Kids, cooks for family and friends, gardens, travels, and wrangles chickens. We caught up with Jamison to find out more about her writing and her passion for local food. How did you become a food writer? Bill [my husband] was writing about travel, and I got somewhat pulled into that. Our writing, whether about Santa Fe, Mexico, the Caribbean, or elsewhere, always included a lot about food, because it's one of 6
edible Santa Fe | LATE SUMMER 2016
the the most direct ways to experience another culture. We wrote the original Rancho de Chimayo Cookbook for the Jaramillo family back in the early 1990s, seeing it as an extension of our writing about the area. We decided it would be nice to do one more cookbook on an area we knew well, which resulted in Texas Home Cooking (1993). We learned so much about BBQ during that research that we thought we needed to write one more cookbook. At the time—-and this is sort of unbelievable now, given BBQ and outdoor cooking's current popularity—we saw ourselves as chronicling a dying art. That book, Smoke & Spice (1994), won us our first James Beard award (of four), has stayed in print for more than twenty years, and has sold over a million copies. At that point, we looked at each other and said, hmmm, this food writing seems to be working out pretty well.