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edible

southwest color ado A ref uge from your electronics since 2010.

No. 27

Winter 2016/17

THE PERSONAL ESSAY ISSUE


CONTENTS

6

8

10

FORGET YOUR PERFECT OFFERING

By Kate Husted

THE MAKING OF A MAN

By Michael Thunder

FROM SEMINARY INSIPID TO VISITING SUNDAY GOURMET

By Art Goodtimes

12

16

REQUIEM FOR A SQUIRREL By Rachel Turiel

TO THIS POINT, UNTIL TOMORROW Photos and Interviews by Rick Scibelli, Jr.

24

28

FOOD FIGHT By Katie Burford

WHY WE CAMP IN THE WINTER IN THE DESERT

By Jonathan P. Thompson

30

IN NEED OF A RESPECTABLE CABIN

By Dan Hinds

"Enredadera", oil on paper, by Shay M. Lopez. A native of the Southwest, Shay Lopez is a painter and sculptor working in Durango, Colorado. www.shaymlopez.com


EDITOR'S LETTER

S

ome three hundred miles offshore and three more above the Atlantic floor, I hear a dog barking out somewhere on the moonless November water. Every night, I am jolted awake by a voice whispering my name from the foot of my hard, narrow bed in my tomb-like berth in the bow. The voice sounds eerily like my own. At daybreak, exhausted, I see a mile-wide piece of gold shag carpet undulating on the surface of the navy blue water. We are heading right for it. I warn Ken. “It’s your seasickness medication,” he replies dispassionately, referring to the small transdermal patch I have secured behind my left ear. “It makes some people hallucinate.” Captain Ken is 70. Not one wiry whisker on his wrinkly face is the same length as any other. “I heard a woman crying for four days one time,” he says. “It was the wind against the rigging.” But apparently we are better off imagining things that are not there than enduring a genuine bout of clinical-grade motion sickness. “Even Shackleton got seasick,” he assures me. I nod. If I had Internet, I would Google that name.  I am crew on this sailboat. The “kitchen wench.” The grinder. The hallucinator. All good details for an essay for our special winter issue, I am thinking. But when I return, the magazine has already taken shape in my absence. Stories have been submitted. Stories crafted with sentences like ‘I watched Comb Ridge glow that afternoon, and I cried, not because of the sublime and muted light, but because my corduroy pants and floppy moon boots from TG&Y were sopping wet from tromping around in half a foot of snow and I knew that my sleeping bag would provide little comfort against the cold.’ This by regional awardwinning journalist Jonathan Thompson. And little works of art like ‘Mo tacitly let me escort her from the shadows of the kidding room to the ashen light of day. I stood her on the pile of sawdust and straddled her back. I rubbed her neck and spoke to her, thanking her, fighting the shaking in my voice.’ by the lyrical local writer, Kate Husted. And there is more. That’s when I think … I am not about to bring my knife to this gun fight. I am going to happily get out of the way. Themed issues can seem like sneaky ways to simply sell more advertising. What better way to sell a few extra seasonal ads than to come out with “The Holiday Issue!” But as my colleague and our managing editor, Rachel Turiel, said in a meant-to-reassure-me email (a common occurrence), “No one’s trying to sell anything or convince anyone of anything. It’s just pure storytelling by local people. Each story has the potential to hold interest for all of our

readers. I think this issue has heart, humanity and humor. It’s a risk for sure [which I believe in] and we’ll see how the public takes to it.” So, unless we are trying to sell advertising to the plethora of quill and ink stores across our region, this isn’t that. This, we imagine, is the perfect winter reading. Like curled-up-bythe-fire kind of unplugged reading. It is an opportunity to engage in the lives of others. Learn something, laugh, wonder, ponder life more deeply during this cold, reflective season.  We would be remiss if we didn’t pay homage to those local story lovers who influenced us. Most directly, we have to give a nod to The Raven Narratives, a live storytelling event held quarterly here in Southwest Colorado. It’s the brainchild of the gifted writer Sarah Syverson and her creative partner, Tom Yoder. While their format celebrates the oral tradition, their criteria are the same: that the stories be dynamic and authentic. We can’t say it better. We also thank Patrice DeLorenzo, Rosie Carter, Shay M. Lopez and Dan Hinds for their original artwork that brought visual lyricism to this issue. This is our 27th issue. Seven years ago, we started working on our first issue. We are still entirely owned, conceptualized, written, edited, fiddled with and printed locally by local people. We still don’t answer to anybody but ourselves (and you). We thank our loyal advertisers for supporting our mission and our stubborn philosophy that forbids us from doing stories on you and your business simply because you advertise. Many of you have been with us since the beginning. We also sincerely thank our readership. You recognized our philosophy and saw that we were different. Thank you for your loyalty. Rick Scibelli, Jr., Edible Southwest Colorado

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ON THE COVER The painting on the cover is by Patrice DeLorenzo. The cover version has been cropped to a vertical format to fit the page. A native of Boston, DeLorenzo resides in Durango, Colorado. A lifelong artist with a BFA and MFA in painting, her soft, dreamy, meditative landscapes reflect those quiet, yet vibrant places of comfort and beauty. DeLorenzo's paintings are represented at J Jake Art Gallery, Boston, MA and at www.patricedelorenzo.com

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WRITERS Jonathan P. Thompson, Kate Husted, Katie Burford, Michael Thunder, Rachel Turiel, Dan Hinds, Art Goodtimes

PHOTOGRAPHY AND ILLUSTRATION Michelle Ellis, Rick Scibelli, Jr., Patrice DeLorenzo, Rosie Carter, Shay M. Lopez DESIGN Rick Scibelli, Jr.

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STORY IDEAS, WRITER'S QUERIES Contact Rachel at sanjuandrive@frontier.net Edible Southwest Colorado is published quarterly by Sunny Boy Publications. All rights reserved. Distribution is throughout southwest Colorado and nationally (and locally) by subscription. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher. © 2016/2017. edible Southwest Colorado PO Box 3702, Telluride, CO 81435

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Forget Your Perfect Offering By Kate Husted

O

n the eve of butchering day, I was in the kitchen of our one-room house on a hill. A single light burned. I scraped a blade against a stone, the sound slicing through the darkness like the beat of a drum. I have always begun the ritual of butchering this way. As I sharpened knives, I focused on the grave task ahead. My heart was heavy, anticipating the imminent demise of a friend. My nerves buzzed, fearing a slip of the hand that would cause unneeded suffering. My mind turned to the three goat kids, alone in the kidding room, sent to bed without dinner, motherless in the hushed midnight barnyard gloom. Though I was mourning for them, I was also starting to practice detachment, erecting a wall around my heart stone by stone. The next morning, I paced through the barn in mud boots, collecting and arranging tools, placing them as if onto an altar. On the milk stand sat an array of knives, a whetstone, and a bowl of cold water for receiving hearts, livers, and kidneys. An ominous loop of rope swung from a barn rafter, waiting to bear the weight of a carcass hung upside down from a singletree. A wheelbarrow load of sawdust had been spread solemnly on the ground, where it would catch the blood that would pour from the animals. A bundle of dried sage, a box of matches. Once everything was in place, the three butchers gathered. My two friends and I were all present because we were seeking better meat than the grocery store offered. We cared how an animal lived, what it ate, how it died. We were willing to shoulder the burden of butchering in pursuit of this ideal. I raise a herd of milk goats because I love goats and I love making cheese. The herd swells with the birth of kids in the spring, and shrinks again in the fall as most of those kids transmute into food. Since I was the most experienced butcher at hand, I murmured a plan to the others, explaining how to make a fatal cut, how we would complete the process most efficiently. We burned the sage and took turns bathing in the smoke. We prayed for steady hands. We felt stark, deliberate, severe. I went first. The goat I meant to kill was my favorite. Her name was Mo, short for Mahonia, or Mahonia repens, the scientific name of our local Oregon Grape. I was present at her birth. She had slid gooey and asleep into my waiting hands, shook her outsized ears, and took her first breath. Since then, she seemed to be the fondest of me. She crossed the barnyard to greet me every time I entered it. She lingered at my side as we walked through pines and oak brush. She frequently jumped into my arms, letting me rake my fingers through her soft white fur. She also happened to be the biggest kid, which is why I decided she was destined for our freezer. Soon there would be packages labeled “Mo shoulder roast,” “Mo rump roast.” She would 6  edible

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be curried, stewed with green chilies, packed into enchiladas. But at the moment, I wasn’t thinking about food. Mo tacitly let me escort her from the shadows of the kidding room to the ashen light of day. I stood her on the pile of sawdust and straddled her back. I rubbed her neck and spoke to her, thanking her, fighting the shaking in my voice. She seemed at ease in our familiar intimacy. Someone was burning sage and walking circles around us. I breathed deeply, trying to appear calm. My heart was a firework. The time to hesitate was through. I gripped my long, sharp blade in one hand, Mo's horn in the other. I poised the blade at her jawline, closed my eyes, and committed to pulling and slicing with my entire being. The knife caught for one terrible second on Mo’s fur, as it always does when it starts to penetrate flesh. I pulled harder, with more desperation, and before I felt anything else Mo was opened from ear to ear, clear back to her spine. She exploded forward, erupting in sound and color. What began as a cry disintegrated into a sputter. My eyes flew open, my hand grasping a flailing mass of white fur and red blood. We collapsed together, the bed of sawdust beneath us turning scarlet and warm. I righted myself and crouched over her, my hand on her heaving rib cage, thanking her over and over, watching her life leak out. She started violently kicking. Someone once told me that this kicking is the animal running to the afterlife, and that I should let it run. She ran circles in the sawdust on her side before finally coming to rest. Her head was the center of a crimson blood flower. In some ways, the hard part had just begun. I pierced the thin skin between tendons in Mo’s hind legs with the hooks of the singletree. I hefted her limp mass and hung her from a barn rafter. I sawed through her spine to remove her head, depositing it in a bucket. I felt a familiar relief once this was done, as if the body I was working with was no longer Mo. I sawed off the bottoms of the forelegs; they also went into the bucket. Then I carefully skinned the cadaver, parting layers of clean white fascia, undressing it to reveal the thin, naked muscle beneath. I sliced the gut cavity open like a morbid surgeon, probing the mass of organs there, hunting for the ones I wanted to eat. I cut out the heart, liver, and kidneys. I detached the rest of the entrails from the spine, and guided them as they spilled into another bucket. Finally, I washed the carcass, shrouded it in a game bag, and hung it from a beam in our cold, dark storage cellar. It would cure there for a few days before being broken down into smaller cuts, packaged, and frozen. All of this took about an hour. My friends followed my


lead through the whole process with their own animals, reluctantly wielding their knives and deconstructing timidly, but valiantly getting the job done. I truly love teaching others this disappearing skill, helping people reconnect with the death that is matter-of-factly required for life. When I was a beginner, I found butchering somewhat traumatic, emotionally and physically exhausting. I remember catching whiffs of my hands for days afterward, the unique smell of freshly dead meat often impregnates the skin and cannot be washed away. I said that if I had to kill every animal I ate then I would only eat one animal a year. Now I act the part of grim reaper for four or five beasts a year, and I’m not disturbed by the effort. I’m grateful for the opportunity to dip my fingers into the dark place between worlds. I’m grateful to be able to feed myself this way. Thanks to every dying thing, so we may eat. h

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The Making of a Man By Michael Thunder

I

was raised in a household where dead game animals were on constant parade through the house. In they’d come with feathers, fins and fur. We’d strip them of their outer layers, filet, debone and then eat them. King Salmon from the ocean, steelhead and trout from the rivers were Friday fare. My father took some of the pheasant feathers to Stella, the woman who tied flies for him. When I was 12, my father and his brother, Stormy, decided it was time to make a man of me. It would be the first time I carried a gun, although I had gone hunting with them without a shotgun to learn the ropes. I had ridden in the back seat of the car with dead pheasants. I petted their extraordinary beauty. They were impossibly designed, sheer overindulgence and had come all the way from China to brighten my life. But now, I had some ambivalence about dispatching them. I took a gun safety course required by Washington State and got my hunting license. Dad, Stormy, and I left for the killing fields before dawn in dad’s green Pontiac. My father put Ace, his German Shorthair hunting dog, in the trunk. Ace lived in a pen in the driveway and was not allowed to interact with our family. The belief at that time was that it made a better hunting dog. My mother couldn’t stand to see Ace put in the trunk and imagine him riding there. But Dad said Ace liked the privacy. Uncle Stormy was a butcher by profession. He was just recovering from a bigamy incident. He’d gone to the Okanagan Valley to hunt deer at Ed Johnson’s apple orchard. At the end of the day, he got liquored up in a bar and met a woman. He called my father from Yakima to share the good news that he had gotten married. My father’s difficult lot was to remind Stormy that he was already married, a fact he had overlooked in the mysterious and powerful energy of love at first sight. My mother did not buy “love at first sight.” She had been

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doing a six-week Novena at Holy Rosary and was under the influence of an itinerant Dominican. For her, it was another example of Stormy’s unbridled carnal nature. My father was a traveling grain salesman, so he knew a lot of farmers. The farmer who owned the farm where we were going to hunt had given Dad permission. I was carrying a twelve gauge shotgun. My father and Stormy had gone before me into the mist. I had no experience whatsoever of electric fences. When I ran into the hot wire, I wet my pants and discharged my shotgun. Never having been electrocuted before, I thought I was under alien attack. “Little Mike, you’ve murdered Uncle Stormy!” My father’s voice died away, and there was silence. Both my father and Stormy had been on Okinawa during the war and they were still jumpy. The whole neighborhood of men returned from war was jumpy. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder as a diagnosis didn’t exist yet. These men startled easily and they were fun to scare. “I ain’t killed, gentlemen. But we got another problem.” A cow took form out of the mist. Her front legs buckled and down she went. “Son of a bitch. Little Mike there just bagged his first bovine. ” The farmer valued the dead animal at $100 (this was 1957). Stormy cut up the carcass with his work knife so we could get the remains in the trunk. Ace rode in the back seat and seemed to enjoy himself. We went to Stormy’s butcher shop where I helped deconstruct the carcass. My self-esteem was at low ebb when Stormy said, “You’re a natural with a knife, Little Mike. And don’t worry yourself about the cow. She’ll eat pretty good if we watch out for buckshot in the brisket.” With that, he offered me his flask. h


From Seminary Insipid to Visiting Sunday Gourmet By Art Goodtimes

I

grew up in an Italian household. Food mattered. All three of us boys would vie to join Dad on his weekend shopping trips, where the Japanese truck farmers would save prize tomatoes, onions and melons for his weekly visit. I remember how Papa Vincenzo would break into his Neopolitan slang ordering prosciutto and capicola at the Italian delicatessen. How the butchers at our local Purity market, with its fresh sawdust on hardwood floors, would cut steaks extra thick for one of their best customers. My mom once wrote out her recipe for Italian spaghetti sauce: six handwritten pages, both sides. It took most of a day – prepping, cooking, serving and cleaning up. It was an Italian tradition to send the first son off for clerical training. As the oldest, when I was one year old, my mom had written in my baby book that I would make a great priest. So it was I found myself, at 14, thrown into a boarding school setting at St. Joseph’s Catholic seminary in California. I was free of parental fights, sibling battles and the cloister of family life. Instead, I was a free agent in a class of peers, although carefully bound by the Rule, as they called the social contract of seminary life, with its built-in rigors of religious training. The freedom was empowering. The Rule a little daunting. But the food was horrible. At St. Joseph’s – a minor seminary covering four years of high school and two years of college – we ate in large refectories. There was a raised dais for the dozen or so priests, a giant crucifix with a realistically bloody corpus, and a high lectern at one end where a student would read a suitably educational novel during “silent meals” when speaking wasn’t allowed. All six years of students sat at nine-person tables with seating assignments made hierarchically. The table head was a college student. And the descending order ended with the lowly six-latiners (freshman high schoolers) whose job it was to pile dirty dishes into two metal pans at the opposite end of the table. All silverware and food arrived at the “pilers.” However, it was distributed as ordered by the table head, and returned to the pilers for collection by the giant pushcart that was led up and down the hall and back into the kitchen. There, cloistered nuns provided the only oblique feminine contact by preparing and giving food to the servers who wheeled it out into the hall and on to the tables. 10  edible

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It wasn’t the formal setting or the prayers and enforced silences that grated on my sensibilities. It was what was served. Our vulgar names for recurring dishes spoke volumes on that account. Plums in a syrup sauce: “buzzard balls.” And there were worse. It was institutional food at its most economical. I heard it once said that the cost of feeding us was something like 50 cents a person per day. I once cut open a “ravioli” – a chunky square of overcooked dough that bore only facsimile relationship to the hand-cut cuisine al dente that I was used to – swimming in a watery tomato gruel of utterly bland flavor. Inside was a dead fly. But every hell has its heaven, and what saved my finely-tuned taste buds from gustatory collapse was the institution of a monthly “Visiting Sunday.” For those of us lucky enough to live close to our homes, our families were allowed to visit their sons one weekend a month. It was a big deal. Families held huge picnics on the landscaped grounds of the seminary. Parents and siblings wanted to see their favored sons, and seminarians were treated like family royalty. That meant I was encouraged to request the choicest of dishes. Eggplant “Mulinyam” (in my Dad’s dialect) – a molinara rich in cheese, egg and a thick tomato paste bursting with spices. Gnocchi; breaded and fried baby artichokes; calamari; olive oil and vinegar salads; angel food cakes. And almost every weekend, there would be a ripe artichoke half that I would fill with French dressing and gorge on. A treat I enjoy to this day. One can endure lots of hardship, if there’s a reward waiting in the wings. It perhaps doesn’t seem to balance out, thinking back on it. But those once-a-month gourmet feasts made up for the weeks of cheese and noodles, watered-down soups and loaves so white we pressed them into soft alabaster marbles to toss at each other when the priests and table heads weren’t watching. Eating is one of life’s great pleasures. And, early in one’s life, having it reduced to a daily drudgery of the insipid and the tasteless was a burden for sure. But the bright light of one’s family coming to the rescue, with the best of personal vittles, taught me the importance of healthy, flavorful foods. I left the seminary. I became a poet and a politician instead of a priest. And instead of institutional food, I’ve been a connoisseur of the delectable ever since. h


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Requiem for a Squirrel By Rachel Turiel

I

t’s winter 2009. The recession has sent its hungry tendrils into every economic crevice, including my husband’s and my freelance work in carpentry and writing. The consolation prize on the game show of life is that our family is taking yet another hike on a day once reserved for work. We spring the kids from their car seats and they bounce around the oaks, attracting dust and dried leaves as if rolled in honey, while we adults tackle practicalities: tying laces, cinching backpacks, tightening lids on water bottles. “Oh!” my husband Dan cries, his head swiveling back to the road as a car thunders past. There is a squirrel smacked down on its back, completely still except for hind legs peddling the air as if trying desperately to flee. My shoulders tighten. My rib cage wrenches on my own lungs. Please feel no pain, squirrel. Please don’t freak out, kids. Our afternoon hike has been transformed to a front-row view of death. Pull up a seat kids, a squirrel will be dying before your eyes. Before the deliverance of death, there is the great biological impulse to live channeled into those two tiny feet pummeling the air. I flinch. The kids gape, slack-jawed. We are voyeurs, peeping through the parted curtain of death, watching helplessly, curiously, for a final exhale. “Look!” my four-year-old son, Col, points at the spectacle on the road. His two-year-old sister Rose, whose greatest aspiration thus far is to be a four-year-old boy herself, sidles up to Col and repeats, “Look! Look at dat ska-wull!” I search the kids’ faces, which never lie, for comprehension of what they are witnessing. They seem strangely, unexpectedly excited. The squirrel stops moving and Dan is already walking toward it. “Anyone want to eat a squirrel?” he calls back to us. I frown at the lifeless rodent splayed on the stark platter of gravel road. Eating roadkill squirrel doesn’t quite align with my culinary aspirations. “Hell, yeah,” a voice that sounds curiously like mine calls out. It’s tough times for carpenters and writers. Who are we to pass

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up the gift of free, fresh meat? “Make sure it’s dead!” I plead as Dan stands over the motionless body. He holds a garden trowel from the Subaru trunk, ready to finish what’s been started, but the squirrel gives no twitch. Dan picks it up by the tail, that luxurious long fluff of fur that would make a lovely scarf for one of Rose’s dolls, and carries it to the base of a box elder tree. “Daddy pick up a ska-wull!” Rose announces and then makes this her mantra, her unceasing eulogy. No one seems bothered by the one bulging dark eye, sprung out like some sinister jack-in-the-box. This critter is a common rock squirrel: ground-dwelling, holenesting, munches on seeds, berries, buds, new shoots, insects. Lives in colonies and is a frequent victim of roadkill. The Leatherman – that ultimate tool of spontaneous necessity – is pressed into service. We gather round the creature, watching as Dan uses the tiny scissors to make a neat cut in the skin from anus to chin. There is some relief in that first cut, as the animal is instantly transformed from soft-bellied and cute to something else entirely; though still more biology dissection project than dinner. The kids miss nothing; not the chute of poop that bulges from the squirrel. They snicker and Col, upon Dan’s approval, proudly removes the dark, moist dropping out of the makeshift butchering arena with a stick. Dan snips straight out to each paw then cuts in a circle around the neck and feet as if tailoring a full-length winter jacket from one squirrel for another. Col’s simmering 30-pound body is uncharacteristically still, eyes trained on his father’s hands. Dan instructs him to grab the skin that lies open like an unzipped jacket and gently pull. Father and son tug at the hide and it releases seamlessly from the body. The squirrel is undressed. Next, Dan opens the pink belly with the indispensable scissors and nimbly removes the stomach, intestines and kidneys. He reaches past the paper-thin diaphragm to grab the lungs; the tiny gumdrop of a heart is left under the ribcage for later consumption. We lay the organs out in the grass and wonder who will be the first to discover these tidbits. Magpie? Raccoon? Dog? Dan slices open the stomach,


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revealing a green and brown slurry, and we take turns imagining what the squirrel has been eating. “Clover leaves and tender grass shoots,” I offer. “Maybe a stashed acorn from fall,” says Dan. Col guesses owl meat and Rose, as usual, parrots her brother. “Dat ska-wull eat owl meat!” she announces proudly as if the thought belonged to her. Col, aching to help, holds the squirrel’s eviscerated body, while Dan saws the head off and crunches through wrist bone with the wire cutter on his pliers. Four paws and a furry head are left behind in the grass. Dan carries the squirrel body—supple with pink meat and now wearing the passable veneer of dinner—to our station wagon. The kids surround the disembodied head, closing and opening the eyelids and sliding their fingers down the slippery yellow teeth. They caress the velveteen fur on the cupped ears, to which I also am drawn, the way I distractedly stroke my own children’s tender ears when their heads are within my reach. We hike for two hours, up the exposed, red-rock flank of the mesa, and then down the spine of the snow-hoarding ridge top. Aside from the faint, musky smell of animal on our fingers, it feels like any winter afternoon. Back home, we put the squirrel in the pressure cooker with onions, garlic, carrots, and a generous helping of butter and salt. The famished kids get a first course of noodles but Col leaves his half-eaten. “I’m waiting for squirrel,” he deadpans. As the hot, salty juices percolate, bouncing against one ultra-fresh squirrel body, life proceeds normally. Rose strips naked and Col gives her a horseback

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ride around the house. Dan washes dishes. I drink a beer. The kids get the first bite of squirrel meat. And the second, third and fourth. They go nuts for the taste of squirrel and like hungry rioters, leave the table and storm the kitchen, begging for more. Dan can’t pull meat off the bone fast enough. “Who wants a tender niblet?” he asks, holding up a wedge of dark, pink meat. “Tender niblet! Tender niblet!” the kids chant, thrusting open mouths upward, desperate for squirrel flesh. Dan sneaks me a few pieces. It tastes like chicken, though sweeter, richer and chewier. “Who wants rib meat?” Dan asks. “Rib meat! Rib meat!” the kids cry, jumping at their father like wild dogs. They devour the tiny heart and tear every sliver of flesh from the matchstick ribs as if squirrel meat is something in which they’ve been deficient for years. When there is nothing left but the tail, Col runs off with it, gnawing on its whip-like base. As the next couple weeks come and go, I wonder if our squirrel encounter will come up in conversation. Will Col mention that we ate a roadkill squirrel at pre-school sharing time? Will Rose resume her “ska-wull” chants? We read books featuring squirrels in large, colored photos, but this doesn’t trigger a need to recount that afternoon. The squirrel that came into our lives is gone, lodged silently, solidly in our cells. h


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To This Point, Until Tomorrow Photos and Interviews by Rick Scibelli, Jr.

T

he following project took on several iterations. The original idea was to interview kitchen workers. The back of the house – dishwashers, prep cooks, the line. The unseen crucial cogs in the wheel. Over time and many miles, the project morphed. It seemed to be turning into a project about immigrants because they are who staff our region’s kitchens. This was good. I felt self-congratulatory. ‘Voice to the voiceless,’ I thought. "I have reservations," somebody of import said to me."Then I do, too," I said. We agreed that we would use only first names. Then we decided to change the names. In journalism, anonymous sources are frowned upon. After much fretting ... I thought, 'so frown.’ In some cases, names will be changed. Then I met Genevieve Yellowman. "I am not immigrant," she said. "I know, I know ... I hope you know that I know that," I replied. "I am Diné." Okay. "The project is about kitchen workers," I said. "Not just immigrants." “I do other things,” she said. And the project became something else. And then I saw 86-year-old John Carver sitting by himself at a restaurant in Cortez. He had a well-worn cowboy hat, hammer-claw hands, maybe a certain inaccessibility in his eyes. Who is that and how long has he been sitting there? And with that, the theme expanded once again. So, here is a group of people you might never meet. All food workers in some form. That is the project. Here, in their own words, is who they are. Where they are from. And where they are going.

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Alejandro Cook

I

am from Guatemala. I came here in 2011; five years ago. In Guatemala, my mom, my dad, we had nothing. So my uncle, he said, come here. So I started walking. From where? From the Mexican border. I walked, like, 12 days. Two weeks. It’s like that. You know? When I am here I am working a lot. I have a little money. I have two jobs. I work six days. I work in the day and the night. Like 15 hours a day; 14 hours. I need money for my rent … and to send money to my mom. Have you been home? January 2011 was the last time I saw my mom. My family, too. I have a brother and sister in Guatemala, too. I talk to them on the cell phone. I am always sad because it is my family. Always my mom cries and me, too, because maybe I will never see her again. My mom is crying and she says ‘take care of yourself so you can have a better life.’ This is exactly what my mom said when I left her. Take care. Be careful with your life. Only this.


Maria

Miguel

Server

I

am from Chihuahua. I came here, oh my goodness, at first it was just the summers. Maybe five years ago. Then two years ago I started coming in the winter. I don’t like Chihuahua too much with the violence and stuff. But my home is good. Thank God for that. My dad and my mom are really good friends and, my dad, he works very hard. I help my parents and my brother and my nephews. I send them money. I also save money for here, too. Are you homesick? Of course. I never thought I would leave. So the first time it was really hard. But I actually have stayed for love, too. I like to stay with my boyfriend here. I met him here. I changed all my things for him. It is a little hard … I have sad days … and I think, ‘what can I do?’ and then I think I can only do the best I can. In Chihuahua, I worked in a hospital. I studied chemistry, biology, bacteriology and parasitology. What is your dream? I have many plans. I would love to be back in a hospital. I like that kind of work. I like to work. It is something that I love. Maybe I can work in a hospital in the mornings and a restaurant at night. 18  edible

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Server

I

am 27. I was born in 1989. I think I am 27 or 28. I came here in 2005. I was 16. I am from San Mateo, Guatemala. When I came from there we came in a bus to the Mexican border. At the border we had to walk. I don’t have any family over there. My mom, my dad, they died when I was like eight years old. I do not have any information. I think they were sick. They died and that is why my sister sent me to the United States. She said ‘if you stay here, you will have nothing to do.’ Have you seen your sister since you left? No, but I talk to her. She saves my money. I send it to her. She is like my mom. She watched me after my parents died. Would you like her to eventually come here? No. I want to go there. You want to go back? Yes. Because here, it is only work. One day I will make my plan and I will go. What is your dream? My dream is to have family and live like they live here. Live nicely.


Bonnie Ellis

Manager, Ute Coffee Shop

I

started here in 1978. But my husband is a pipeliner, so we kind of went all over for a while. We were in Grand Junction for eight years. I have been back here 15 years in December. I came back because Mom and Dad were getting older and my sisters were having kids so I came back to help with the restaurant. When I was a teenager, I thought there is no way in the world that this is what I would do. I started when I was like 10 years old. I went to college for a couple of years but played more than I studied. There is no regret; none at all. At 18 you know, you say, ugh, I am not going to do that [work in a diner]. But now I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. For the – I don’t know – I have a lot of fun here. You know? I talked for a while about taking some accounting classes or something like that. And even my dad was like, ‘you do it if you want to do it if that is what you want to do. But I can’t see you sitting anywhere. I can’t see you sitting in some office doing something like that.’ So I thought, ‘he is probably right.’ This is what I have always done. It is … it’s home.

I think sometimes what I would do if something were to happen to this place? I think I would try to open up a restaurant of my own. That is what I would do. I used to be shy and real tender hearted. Finally I just decided that the only person that can really make me feel terrible is me. So if I don’t let it happen, it won’t. It isn’t an easy thing to do. It isn’t. I am not saying I don’t have to work on it sometimes. I always say I get a black feeling in my heart and I don’t like that. I don’t want that. I don’t want to be that. When you think of your life 10 years from now, do you see yourself here? I do. Hopefully it's mine by then. I would love for it to be mine. When mom is ready to be done and sell out I would love to buy it. How would you change it? I would keep it the way it is. I am pretty proud of this place. It has lasted a long time.


Antonio

Kitchen Manager

I

am 36. I have been in the United States since I was 18 years old. We walked for five days. Through the desert. You think it’s easy. It's not. I am from Mexico. Ojos Calientes. I grew up in a little town. My dad used to drive a big truck moving produce. When was the last time you went home? Six years ago. My mom had passed away. I have two sisters in Mexico. I saw them six years ago. Right now, it’s a little different because I have my own family over here. I have a wife and little kids. There is more money, work and security here. In Mexico, there are cartels and drugs. But if I was alone I would prefer to go

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back, but now that I have a family here, I stay. This is a really nice country. We are working very hard to get our home in Washington State. We are planning to go there and work less. Maybe two more years. My wife’s family is in Washington. Let’s see what happens. Can I take your picture? No. I don’t want any picture. What if I don’t show your face? Ok.


John Carver

Retired farmer and rancher, Cortez, Colorado

I

was born here in 1930. I farmed my whole life. Cattle. Hay. Mostly hay. My nephews run the farm now. I still live out there. They treat me good. They built this restaurant here around 1952 around the first part of the middle of summer. 60 years ago. Somewhere around there. I have been a customer ever since. Off and on. I come in everyday. Different times. I am allowed to come in anytime. I live just two miles down the road. I don’t know what else I can say. It's ok, you told me your story. Ok. Do what you want with it.


Genevieve Yellowman Cook, Rico Coffee Shop

I

have spent my entire life here in Rico. This is my second year cooking here. But I do a lot of different stuff. I caretake homes. But I have always cooked. Everywhere from Telluride to Cortez? No, just here in Rico. You mind if I ask how old you are? Yes. How has Rico changed over the years? It hasn’t changed much. It still feels the same. But I would like to see it change. What brought your parents to Rico? Mining. They stayed here and died here. I still have a sister here. My sister is the town clerk. Do you see yourself staying here? For now. The older you get, the time comes to head down. Head down? Someplace warm. How long have you been doing this? This magazine for 6 years, but this kind of work since the mid-90s, I guess. Oh, so just taking pictures and stuff?

Yes. I guess so. What is this story about? It was going to be about immigrant food-service workers then it grew into something else. I am a native. I am Diné. Yes, yes, I knew you weren’t an immigrant. I assumed you were native. I hope you know that. Yes. So, obviously something has kept you here in Rico. It’s not the people. There is nobody around. It’s the surroundings. It is the … the … the … landscape. It keeps you going. You know? Could you imagine ever living closer to town? Not Cortez. Maybe Durango. Cortez, bordertowns, like Farmington, too, people don’t think well of the natives. I have been through it. You read it. You see it. So I don’t waste my time in it. Life passes you by if you do. How do you spell your name? The color plus the man. Yellowman. There is only a few of us.


Ricardo Dishwasher

I

came here when I was 15. I am 24 now. I am from Huehuetenango, Guatemala. I came with my friend. How did you get here? We walked. The whole way? Yeah. The whole way. So, like, two months. From Guatemala to here. Have you ever been back? No. But I send money back. To my mom. I have family here now. I have three children. Twins. And a girlfriend. If you could choose between here and Guatemala, what would you choose? Here.

 


Food Fight

W

By Katie Burford

hen he raised his hand to threaten her, I lost it. All at once it wasn’t Natalia, the 7-year-old girl for whom I was a newly arrived nanny in Alicante, Spain, being yelled at by her grandfather to eat her fish filet, but me. My child self, sitting at a different family table with a different plate in front of her. The authority figure would have been my father and he would not have raised his hand, but instead, would have pierced me with a withering stare or swatted me on the back of the head. Natalia flinched but refused to turn toward the hand. Instead, she locked eyes with me where I sat across from her. In the background, I heard canned laughter from the Spanish sitcom the grandmother was watching in the living room. I looked away as my vision grew blurry from the impending tears. Not bothering to offer an explanation, I rose from the table and bolted to the bathroom. Inside, I gasped and sobbed like someone who had escaped a burning room. As the minutes passed, I tried futilely to pull myself together. After what could have been 15 or 50 minutes, I heard a knock. “Kay, estás bien?” It was the mother, Marisa. They’d called her down from upstairs to talk to me. It was my second day at the house, but they still could only pronounce the first part of my name, so instead of Katie, I was Kay, which happens to sound just like Spanish for “what:” que — an über-common word. The result was that I felt like they were constantly talking about me. In my mind, I conjured their condemnations: "What is she speaking, because it doesn't sound like Spanish,” or "What is she doing here because she doesn't know anything about caring for children,” or even "What is the phone number for the placement agency so we can send her back." “Sí, sí. Estoy bien,” I managed as a reply to Marisa, but no sooner had I said it than the tears started flowing again. She asked if I would come upstairs and talk with her.  “Sí,” I whimpered. Upstairs, seated on a large, leather sectional sofa, I looked out the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. In the morning, they would reveal an enviable view of the Mediterranean Sea, but now they reflected back only inky blackness. Marisa asked me if I wanted something to drink, perhaps beer or wine. Yes, wine would be nice, I said. She poured two glasses, handed one to me and sat down across from me. Once settled, she asked what was wrong. "Es que, es que (it's that, it's that) ..." was all I could manage.  The doorbell rang and Marisa went to answer it. She came back with a stylishly dressed woman in her mid-30s who greeted me in English. It was a friend of Marisa who had spent several years in the US. Twenty minutes and a couple of glasses of wine later, my whole 24 

edible SOUTHWEST COLORADO WINTER 2017

outburst was chalked up to jet lag and culture shock. But before the session ended, both women cautioned me to be firm with the household’s three children: Carlos, 4; Patricia, 9; and, of course, middle-child Natalia. "You have to let them know who's boss," Marisa said, while her friend nodded in agreement.  As I spent more time in Spain, I came to learn some of the historical context for the grandfather's heavy-handed approach to meals. When he had been a child, food shortages were rampant as a result of the Spanish civil war. Most men of his generation were short statured from early malnutrition. The urgency to "eat, eat!" was one part fear of seeing his progeny suffer the same fate and one part revulsion of seeing good food go to waste. What he failed to understand was that in the developed world, food was a young person's first proving ground. And what I saw in Natalia’s eyes that night was very familiar territory. For me, the crucible was sweet potatoes. In my father’s bid to get me to eat them, he first tried enticement — “with a dollop of butter and a heap of brown sugar, they’re so delicious they’re almost dessert.” Right, I thought, if dessert was a cross between Jell-O and mashed potatoes. “No.” “Just eat your sweet potatoes.” “No.” “You will not leave this table….” “Fine.” “Eat those sweet potatoes,” he growled, his finger grabbing at my plate. "Now!”  Even as his words grew more insistent, I could hear the resolve draining out of them. He knew I’d set out to scout the boundary of his resolve and had succeeded in finding its outer limit. I eventually ate the sweet potatoes, which stuck in my throat like wet toilet paper, but I was energized by the confrontation. My scrappy defeat had a well-established precedent which stretched all the way back to third century BC. That was when King Pyrrhus of Epirus managed to best the Romans, but only after suffering a devastating number of casualties among his own armies. The term Pyrrhic victory came to describe any battle won at too great a cost.  In my case, Pyrrhus’ armies were slain by sweet potatoes, which were the last food I ever recall being forced to eat. For Natalia, it was fish filet. But this tale of triumph over table tyranny has an epilogue: I now have children of my own. Lo, the victor has become the vanquished. h


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Why We Camp in the Winter in the Desert By Jonathan P. Thompson

T

he photograph, taken 26 years ago, is faded and worn. In it, Dave, Craig and I stand in a sandstone cul-de-sac facing each other in the relaxed but anticipatory pose of hacky sackers, of 20-year-olds, just waiting for life to unfurl before them. We were nearing the end of a four-day, mid-December backpacking trip in a sinuous Cedar Mesa canyon in Utah. For three days, we froze our asses off. Then the weather had warmed enough to allow us to strip to shirt-sleeves and kick some hack — a moment worthy of capturing on film, despite the cost. The eerie warmth and gauzy clouds overhead should have warned us that a storm was brewing. And when, in the afternoon, the gray thickened overhead like churning cream, we probably should have packed up, hiked the few miles back to Craig’s Trooper, and driven the eight miles up the Hole-in-the-Rock trail to the relative safety of pavement. But you don’t quit a winter desert camping trip before it’s time, because if you do, the reward at the bitter end — your warm bed, a cold beer, a greasy pizza from Wagon Wheel in Monticello — isn’t nearly so sweet. I got initiated into winter desert camping when my dad took me to the mouth of Arch Canyon in January when I was a grubbyfaced, snot-nosed seven-year-old. I watched Comb Ridge glow that afternoon, and I cried, not because of the sublime and muted light, but because my corduroy pants and floppy moon boots from TG&Y were sopping wet from tromping around in half a foot of snow and I knew that my sleeping bag would provide little comfort against the cold. These days, that might be considered child abuse. But my dad exonerated himself by cooking Dinty Moore stew piled atop crispy chow mein noodles from a can. The heat of the metal bowl warmed my hands even through my mittens and dried out my freezing tears. Winter desert camping is like that, a strange amalgamation of beauty and dread, of suffering and of sweet and precious succor. I once mustered up all the strength in my then-16-year-old body to wade across an ice-choked Escalante River, in jeans, with a full pack, knowing that on the other side my dad’s campfire biscuits — he never cooked on a campstove — awaited. He’d fill a skillet with squeeze Parkay — this was back when butter was considered evil — get it hot and bubbly over the fire, then plop in those Pillsbury biscuits from a can. I can still remember the bliss of sitting on the cold dirt, clenched against the chill, my teeth sinking into that hot, crispy, greasy, doughy concoction. 28  edible

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Craig, Dave and I partook in our own winter camping ritual that day at Cedar Mesa, all with one objective, sleeping through the long, cold night. We ate Wheatena, the hippie Cream of Wheat, for breakfast. We hiked ruthlessly, watching closely not just for arrowheads, but for a more valuable treasure: the perfect south-facing, sun-washed hollow in sandstone, stroked smooth by wind and water, where one could lie and absorb the warmth. And for dinner we had pasta drowning in butter and cheese, in order to pay homage to the culinary holy trinity of desert camping: complex carbohydrates (sleep aid), hot water (for warming one from the inside) and fat (because, well, fat). Back then, we eschewed tents out of some misguided sense of masochistic purity. Why camp if you can’t gaze at the stars from some hypothermic haze? And because suffering through the night made the first sunbeams of the dawn that much more rewarding. So, instead, we each found our own overhanging nook in which to cram ourselves, and drifted into sleep. I dreamed: I was in the grocery store, hopelessly looking for something to warm my cold feet. After an hour or so of wandering the aisles, I snapped awake, only to find that my feet were still freezing, the bottom half of my sleeping bag saturated with ice water. Trying to comprehend, I glared out into the stew of darkness around me, and soon witnessed a headlamp’s beam illuminate great big snowflakes tumbling from the sky. Someone let out a sort of wail, half coyote, half cat in heat. We gathered up what we could from our camp, now buried under eight inches of snow, and cooked up a few packs of ramen in an alcove, slurping the MSG-tinged broth as we waited for the light to come. This was the last of our food, save for half a box of Wheatena and a pack of sugar-free chewing gum. The first wave of snow had melted upon hitting the warm sandstone, then frozen into a thin sheet of ice. So the climb out of the canyon, loaded down with packs full of wet stuff, was a groping, grappling, treacherous affair. When we got to the top, I set out across what looked like a snow-covered plain of sandstone. Easy enough. But with my third step, the earth tilted away from me, putting me face first into the snow. The sandstone was actually rippled with undulations, rendered invisible by snow and light. We were reduced to crawling like drunkards.


After three hours of walking, we saw the slice of red — the Trooper. But our trials were just beginning. Within the first 15 minutes of driving, we got stuck, and had to cut sagebrush to throw under the tires. The Trooper’s bumper acted like a plow, piling up snow in front of the radiator grill causing the car to chug to a halt, so that we had to get out and push. It was almost a relief when the thing finally careened immovably into a ditch. We threw a sleeping bag, a stove and the Wheatena into a pack and started trudging through thigh-deep snow on foot. Craig forged ahead while Dave and I took turns with the pack, which kept getting heavier as it got wetter. We stopped occasionally to pour some Wheatena onto our tongues, then tried to mitigate the dirt-flavored mouth muck with a handful of snow and a stick of gum. It didn’t work. The snow stopped at about the time the waxy-blob sun dipped behind the western horizon. Then the clouds skittered eastward, the temperature plummeted, our sweaty clothes crackled as they froze, my cheeks ached with cold. Some ten hours after we had last eaten any real food, Dave and I saw Craig’s jerky silhouette, barely visible in the dying light, veer suddenly to the right. He had reached the highway that slices across Cedar Mesa. And yet, for the first time that day I was actually worried. The chances of anyone driving on that road, which goes nowhere, on a night like that, were almost nil. We could be walking all night. We could join the legions of young “Durangotangs” who “died doing what they loved.” We staggered down the middle of the single plowed lane of ice-glazed asphalt, desperately muttering a litany of greasy foods we craved like an incantation — Griego’s Frito Pie! Green Chile Cheeseburger! With Bacon! When our shadows sprawled out before us in a pool of yellow light, we didn’t know what to make of it. Headlights? It was a BLM ranger that my dad had called during the storm, asking him to keep an eye out for three dumb-asses on Cedar Mesa. We celebrated by taking turns putting our faces up to the truck’s heater vents. The folks behind the desk at the Blanding Hotel where the ranger dropped us gave us a mean look when we walked in. We probably looked like Hayduke-loving wilderness terrorists bent on corrupting San Juan County’s youth with hacky sacks. But after Dave, nearly sobbing, told them what had happened, their compassion bubbled up. They gave us a warm room and served us mushy enchiladas smothered in a red sauce that tasted about how the town’s name sounds. They were the best damned thing I’ve ever eaten. This is why we camp in the desert in the winter. h

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In Need of a a Respectable Cabin Story and Illustration by Dan Hinds

W

e came to the “cabin” in midwinter, trekking with backpacks all day from Silverton, Colorado. Dave on skis with skins, me on snowshoes. In the late afternoon, with a whiff of snow starting to fly from the leaden clouds, we stood just below timberline, huffing and puffing. “It’s around here, I think,” I said. “Looks a little different in winter….” That summer, wildflowers at full bonanza, I’d haunted the elkiest subalpine zones of our local mountains, searching for a territory that two new elk hunters might call their own. Somewhere around here, now buried under the snowpack, were wallow-filled meadows, stinky elk beds galore, trails crisscrossing timberline, and some old log buildings, one of which I’d marked on the topo map I now consulted. As I tried to reconstruct the summer’s view in my mind, I spied an angle in the deep snow amid the spruce trunks that looked a little unnatural. Moving closer I could see the old saw-cut end of a log. Yeah, that’s more like it. Shuffling over, we stood above what could easily be described as a fallen-in hovel: a former miner’s structure with the stout ridgepole snapped, the walls buckled and settled into the earth and now buried in snow, a couple shreds of corrugated metal roofing, a slot of dark space snow-drifted and claustrophobic down under some sketchy rotting side beams. The light was fading from the southwest, snowfall increasing. “See,” I said enthusiastically, pitching my snowshoes down by the high point of the ridgepole. I wriggled down under the tin and, with mittens, wiped away some snow gingerly to avoid rusty nails, then dug desperately for the flat earth below. It wasn’t working. Snow was everywhere and I was cramped, starting to feel a little panicked. I squeezed out, shaking off snow from sleeves and pants.

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“I’m not sleeping in there,” Dave’s voice rose emphatically, caustically, even a little accusingly. “What the fuck, Dan? That’s not a cabin!” I had the snowshoes back on so I could walk to the other side of the snowed-over hump of debris to take a leak without sinking to my waist, deciding it didn’t matter to Dave that it once was a cabin, probably really nice. A hundred years ago. It was getting dark, visibility going fast. Every breath out was a puff of smoky steam, every inhale a bitter cold reminder of what was beginning to look like a survival situation. We had sleeping bags and pads, a little food, maybe a wad of newspaper for fire starter. What was I thinking? It had looked so sweet: a snug little dry shelter was what I remembered from the green warm summer. Dave stared vacantly back down toward the distant snowy access road and the far away town. I looked up, rolling the aches out of my neck from the long backpack haul and the growing stress. Something else caught my eye a few hundred yards up mountain, tucked among the snowy spruce boughs. Another incongruous shape in the forest, the dark wood of some man-made relic. Yes, the unmistakable triangle of a peaked roof and what looked like a door? “Hey, look at that,” I pointed. We had found the Mabell Cabin. Just in the nick of time. An hour later, Dave leaned back on his chair, feet kicked up on a fold-down table, and passed the pipe. “Yeah, we just happened to find this cabin…” he riffed happily from his spot near the cranking woodstove. Stripped down to our skivvies, giddy with discovery, we sweated as the snowbound little cabin sizzled with heat. I investigated the small cabinet in the kitchen corner. “Peppermint schnapps!” I cheered, uncorking a small clear bottle and taking a nip, passing it to Dave. “Of course,” he shook his head, smiling broadly. “We were going


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to sleep in a marmot hole, but we ‘just found this cabin’ and now we got peppermint schnapps!” We had fairly danced around exploring what was billed in the tattered old logbook as 'The Respectable Cabin,' privately owned but “Never to be locked,” infrequently visited by a select group of locals in the know. Broken-handled ridiculously dull axe; flimsy rusted bowsaw; a few old pots and pans, tin cans and tarnished utensils. A woodshed out front. A small back room with big gaps in the floor, corners filled with mouse and porcupine droppings: a room best left closed. The now sauna-hot loft could sleep four or five: the two lower bunks even had box springs. Dave was looking through the logbook with entries starting in the early 1980s and also deciphering much older graffiti on nearly every available wall surface. “‘Pork Wilson and Don Peterson,’” Dave read, “‘came up again on the Ski-Doos. January 12, 1981.’” Just the names cracked us up, as did anecdotes like the one found scrawled on the wall to the back room: “Saw the ghost of Fred Olsen! Jake Salazer, 3 days sober.” Noodle soup was bubbling on the stovetop now. Another shot of minty liquor…. “Hey listen to this,” said Dave, bringing our revelries to a sudden somber halt. “Says here, ‘Found a boot under the cabin: with the foot still in it.’” Talk about ankle stew. That’s what I was thinking while finishing butchering an elk a few years later. Down to the lower leg of the rear ham, separating the slivers of muscle from the tendon was giving me fits. Then I had the idea, and when no one was watching, just wrapped the whole thing up, labeled it “Mabell Cabin Ankle Stew” and buried it in the freezer. “I got dinner,” I assured the boys before we left Silverton that March, four years after Dave and I discovered the Mabell. The snowpack was at a historic depth, and a venture to The Respectable

32  edible

SOUTHWEST COLORADO WINTER 2017

Cabin was the wintertime fever-reliever we all agreed upon. Hoisting packs, Dave and Craig started skinning up the long, snowy road, me following with snowshoes again, holding a longbow this time for some winter target practice. As soon as we’d dug out the door, unpacked, gotten the stove ripping, taken more than a sniff of schnapps, and gotten comfortable, I scooped up a pot of snow outside the door and opened the package that’d been weighing on me all the way up. The bone hit the iron with a clunk as the heat sizzled and lapped at the snow. Still frozen, grizzled with sinew flaps and freezer burn, it was a stretch to imagine its edibility, let alone the nutritional wonder food I’d just unleashed. “Better get hungry boys,” I smirked, hunting for salt in the pantry, until I realized that the porcupine who’d put the latest gnaw-down on the door frame probably hadn’t decided to share the Morton’s. “You guys go skiing,” I said, “I got this.” They gave me a look, but were already halfway out the door, anticipating the untracked powder on the peaks above. So while they made turns, I broke and dragged in branches for firewood, stoking the woodstove to a glowing red. Then I snow-shoed around, searched for lynx tracks, and lost a few white maple arrows in the snowdrifts. When I came back, a pleasing aroma filled the cabin. Four hours later, I announced to the reclining crew that it was almost done. Poking apart the gelatinous connective tissue and rich brown meat, the oily marrow slithered out of the longbones. Indeed, a savory bone-broth ankle stew was at hand. And all of us hungry enough by then to remember it being “pretty good.” Postscript: Unfortunately a visit to Mabell in the summer of 2016 revealed a locked door and “No Trespassing” signs. Continued vandalism by disrespectful visitors had taken their toll and the owner is apparently no longer willing to share this gem of the high country. The memories remain. h


Image by Bonni Pacheco Photography

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Mesa Verde Country 2000 Years of Local Foods

1870 BEEF:

20 A.D. CORN: Planted by Ancient Puebloans. Today: Ute Mountain Ute Tribe farms 3,000 acres of Bow and Arrow cornmeal.

1930’s egGs: 258,965 dozen milk: 2,104,339 gallons produced annually. wheat: Blue Bird Flour launched.

established. Today: 15,000 head raised annually.

1904 McElmo Canyon PEACHES: Win national awards at the Saint Louis World’s Fair. Today: U-Pick at heritage Orchards.

2015 farm to table restaurants vineyards, pubs, and more...

1972 Cortez Farmers Market opens. Today: Five local markets, winter through fall.

1,200 Farms 5 Farmers Markets 3 Vineyards/Wineries 4 Brew Pubs 1 Distillery 5 School Gardens

follow our roots mesaverdecountry.com

Edible Southwest Colorado, winter 2017  

Bringing you the story of Southwest Colorado season by season. Welcome to our Personal Essay Issue.

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