If you consider yourself a foodie, the Santa Fe School of Cooking should be at the top of your to-do list when traveling to New Mexico. Popular with both tourists and locals alike, the school offers lessons designed to educate students on the culinary traditions and secrets of northern New Mexican cuisine. You can choose a session that concentrates on a specific dish such as tamales or rellenos, or one that highlights a particular ingredient such as green or red chiles.
We signed up for a Traditional New Mexican class, which provided a broad picture of Southwestern cooking techniques. The charming teacher walked us through five dishes, including pozole (classic Mexican stew made from coarse hominy), enchiladas and capirotada (bread pudding). She passed around different spices for us to smell, called us up to get a closer look at the changing colors of simmering chile peppers and shared lore of the region.
Even though this was a demonstration class, we felt very much part of the cooking process. We were served the dishes we had watched being made, savoring the unique mix of spices and flavors that make Southwestern cuisine so interesting. Presented at the beginning with a menu and pencil, I avidly took notes.