Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 and the Story of Biscochitos, the Official State Cookie of New Mexico

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2017 was important to me on many levels. Every other year my son comes for this holiday, and at Christmas in the alternate years. This year is a short visit. He arrived Wednesday night and will leave Friday morning. He misses New Mexico cuisine terribly. But, with one main meal this year and a mother and sister who don’t really appreciate that cuisine, I needed to somehow work around that.

I decided to make biscochitos. I’d made them before with butter. They never tasted “real.” I had never used lard (for many reasons), and was not excited about using it this year. But, I decided to give it a try. New Mexico Nomad had a recipe I decided to try.

A friend asked me where I was going to get “real lard.” I never thought about “real lard” before, having just decided to try “lard.” So, at the gym, I asked a few people who would know. Several people said Keller’s, one said ProRanch, and one said “you start by rendering the fat…” Every one of those conversations ended with “why don’t you just use Morrell’s? That’s what I (we, my mother, my grandmother, etc….) use.” Simple enough…

Next, I needed to buy anise. The first I saw at the store was “organic anise” for about $9.00 a bottle. I thought, “I don’t think that is what most people here use…” Looking further, I found the little cellophane pack for $0.79. “That’s the stuff” I thought to myself.

Baking Biscochitos

I could hardly believe the beauty of the dough made with lard. I’d never seen a dough quite like it. It was so easy to work with. When the cookies were baking, the smell of lard – to me – overwhelmed the smell of anise and cinnamon. I was not sure I had made a good decision. But, when the biscochitos cooled and I tasted one, I knew it had been the right decision. These were real biscochitos!

Thanksgiving

Biscochitos

My Son’s Response

When my son walked in last night, the first thing he said was, “This house smells great!”

It’s the beef. It has been cooking all day

“Yes, but I also smell something sweet.” (I wonder if that is an enhanced sense from some color vision deficiency.)

I made biscochitos.

“Can I try them? You know I’ll be brutally honest.”

Stunned expression and silence. Then, “These are as good as (former girl friend) makes. Did you use the lard in the blue tub?” (Morrell’s)

That made my Thanksgiving happy for sure!

Wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving, and a safe and joyful weekend! I’m very thankful for those of you who read here.

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

14 thoughts on “Thanksgiving 2017

    • Hi, Tim. I figured that out at first taste…It’s only taken me a few years of living and being in NM since 1985 πŸ™‚ )))))))))) Happy Thanksgiving to you, Laurie, Tristan, and other family members!

  1. Hi Susan! This was a perfect slice of Thanksgiving warmth! I have a secondary interest besides being entertained- NDI ABQ is producing a new musical centered in the them if math. One piece is about baking Biscochitos! There will be cooks, ingredients, and of course cookies! From your description I think we now know how to portray lard- with a Morell tub, minus the branding and a fancy edged biscochoto! I’ll let you know how it goes because, of course, my team will be in charge of those costumes! Best to you and your family?

    • Hi, Laurie. Your comment gave me a big smile this morning! A week ago I would not have known, but yes, a Morrell tub minus the branding is absolutely the way to portray lard in NM. I can hardly believe it took me so many years to learn that. You could have knocked me over with a feather when my son asked if I had used the lard in the blue container!
      Please let me know how it goes (in fact, when it will be going, please).
      I hope you and your family had a wonderful day yesterday, and will continue to have a great weekend!

  2. Happy Thanksgiving. Hope you had a nice day.

    While substitutes can work for some recipes, with others, not so well. It reminds me of a cousin who tried to bake soft raisin cookies off my mom’s recipe. The recipe called for the use of margarine. My cousin used oleo instead and couldn’t understand why the cookie didn’t taste the same. She asked my mom. You have to use margarine. Oleo, the cookie tastes bad. Butter, the cookie is so soft it won’t lift clean from the cookie sheet.

    A little O/T. The MD in you should be pleased … my three daughters took their MCATs before we left for the Las Vegas National Horse Show. Yes, they’ve decided to take the giant leap. They had been leaning in that direction for more than a year though they’ve been riding very well as hunter/jumpers. Since we have other irons in the fire, they know we can’t help out too much. They’ve submitted their applications for admission to the University of Colorado School of Medicine, which also includes an automatic application for grants and scholarships for the first year. My wife Laurie, who is a trauma surgeon, helped them craft their essays. In the process, there is an interview also to make sure the perspective student understands the course of study and commitment. They’ve also submitted applications to UT – San Antonio (Laurie’s alma mater) and Baylor. Fingers crossed on this one.

    • Hi, David. I hope you and your family had a great day also! You are so correct about substitutes! I continue to learn that on an almost-regular basis! πŸ™‚ ))))))))))
      WOW! THREE DAUGHTERS taking MCATs!!??!! Are they triplets? Both of those are great schools. I suspect you would probably prefer to have them close to you, but as Laurie can attest, UT-San Antonio also has a great reputation. Best wishes to them in their pursuits!
      Thanks for dropping by!

      • We had a great day. My daughters aren’t triplets, though they could be in how they can complete each other’s sentences. Deborah and Elizabeth are from my first marriage, Tara is my step-daughter and Laurie’s daughter. When I married Laurie, I filed to adopt Tara – it took a couple of years for the legal process. Tara still calls me David, but occasionally dad or daddy will sneak in. πŸ™‚ My ex-wife, Andrea, and Laurie are best of friends, plus Andrea is her chief surgical RN on the team. It’s made the blending of our families very, very easy.

        • Hi, David. Thanks for the explanation. To an outsider, that is a complex mix, and I’m happy for your family that the blending has been easy! Keep us posted on your daughters’ plans.

          • Hi Susan – I thought you may be interested in my daughters’ MCAT experience. I wrote about it here: https://hiddenlens.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/mcats/

            Score wise, they were at the 523-524 level. A 528 is considered to be the maximum score possible. They did well. From the parent perspective, I’m glad that part is over. They’re relieved also. So, they’re back to thinking horses. Their riding instructors are okay with the direction my girls are heading towards. Both Mark and Trish, the instructors, have preached the importance of preparing for life outside the show ring, away from horses. They also believe the more talented a rider may be, they need to be more prepared for the outside life. Year One of med school is likely to be a test year to see how they would handle a season of limited riding.

          • Hi, David. Congratulations to your daughters! (And the parents. πŸ™‚ ) They’ll do well juggling school, riding, and outside life!

  3. I’m so happy your biscochitos turned out yummy. There’s nothing like them! Especially for the holidays, they are part of living in New Mexico.

    • Hi, Juanita! Thank you; my son was so surprised and happy it was fun! I’ll make them for the holidays from now on – New Mexico and so good! πŸ™‚
      I ran into a former patient the other day, and she told me about this great presentation she had gone to: “The guy was so good, so informative, so full of important things easy to understand. I think his name was Jack.” I said “Jack Ortega?” She said, “Yes. Yes, that was it. Such a great presentation!”
      I hope you and Jack have had a wonderful weekend.

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