Red or Green

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 17
Occupation: High School Student
Residence: Albuquerque, NM
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/10/2013
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish

When you go into a restaurant, usually a New Mexican restaurant, but they do it at McDonalds too now. They ask “red or green?” which means red or green chilis.  You can also say Christmas which means both of them, and they add it to your meal.

The informant learned this from her uncle when she was about to move to Albuquerque.  He warned her saying, “They are going to ask you… It’s that big of a deal.”  The informant is a green chili person, and she says that it’s a huge battle.  “Are you a red person or a green person?  It’s like are you a Democrat or a Republican?”  The custom of adding chilis to food is very widespread in her area because of the influence of Mexican cuisine, though New Mexican cuisine is not quite the same.  The custom is also a way of weeding out the visitors from the natives, and learning it from her uncle essentially initiated her into the culture of New Mexico.