Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

Chicken Paws and Pig Feet

Talin Market World Food Fair, which as the name implies features foods from around the world, opened Saturday in Santa Fe. They also have a store in Albuquerque. For some of my friends in Santa Fe, there are only two reasons to drive the hour to Albuquerque, Talin Market and the airport. So this is a big deal.

The small space is packed with intriguing cans, bottles, boxes and bags of food labeled in foreign languages. I first spotted a huge bag with a lovely design that did not give me a clue as to the contents. A man working for the store was standing nearby, so I told him I was writing a blog post on the Market, he said great, I asked if I could take photos, he said yes and explained the bag was full of premium rice. He  then proceeded to hold the bag for the photo below. (See his fingers.)

He explained several other items and watched as I took these photos: 

Then I hear a woman say, “The Market’s policy does not permit photos.” Just as I turned to look at the man who had given me permission to take photos, he made a fast pivot and took his brisk walk of shame down the Indian spice aisle. I gave the woman my card and told her the photos were for a blog. Then she asked  three times whether the photos were for the blog, I said  yes twice, then finally decided I would take my leave in peace. I will chalk that up to opening day nerves. The last photo I took was of this package, marked “chicken paws”: 

My first thought was ah, gees, gross. My second thought was why do they call them chicken paws not chicken feet? That’s when I remembered my pig feet story. My parents were born, raised and educated in Columbus, Ohio. Dad moved his family to Macon, GA when I was a baby. Whether we lived in Macon or Cincinnati or Chicago, we drove to Columbus at least once a year to visit relatives. Right up there as the number two reason for the trip was our annual pilgrimage to Thurn’s Specialty Meats. By specialty meats we are talking graphic foods like smoked tongue, thuringer, salami and Dad’s food of the Gods…..pig feet. I did not partake for years, but I finally got curious.

We were sitting around the kitchen table, my family inhaling the foods from our pilgrimage, when I asked my older brother for a taste of his pig foot. He cut off a piece and handed it to me. I almost had it in my mouth when I saw he had just handed me fat with little white wirey hairs on it. I surrendered the pig and began my journey toward vegetarianism. 


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