My Weck's Fix!

I can't think about coming out to Albuquerque and not think about my favorite condiment... green chiles! New Mexicans love their chiles and debate the merits of "red" versus "green." These are variations of the same chile pepper. The red are ripened from the green. I love the green chile and when it is perfected in a delicious roux, I think, "It is to die for!"

I can remember my first experience with chiles and I was lost in the experience. I had come out to New Mexico for a church growth conference at Glorieta twenty-years ago and took an afternoon to go into nearby Sante Fe for lunch and a walk around the downtown area. I stopped at a restaurant on the way in and ordered what I thought was going to be a Tex Mex kind of entree' but was shortly confused by the server's question, "green or red?" I was too embarrassed to admit my ignorance. I think I said, "No thanks!" And I wished today that I could recall her surprised reaction!
The Sweet's Table at Weck's!  

However, when Melissa and Reece moved out to the Alburquerque metro area in 2006, they soon discovered a popular local restaurant chain that is prominent throughout the area. It was simply branded Weck's. This eatery only serves breakfast and lunch from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Our kids soon fell in love with this take on New Mexican cuisine and especially, the quintessential chile pepper. During our first visit that year, they told Monique and me, "You have to eat breakfast at Weck's! It's the best we have ever had!" And so began my "love affair" with Weck's and green chiles!

My favorite breakfast dish sounds like I'm pigging out and I am and I do! I order the Full Belly Egg Plate with Slab O' ham, a half-plate of fresh hash browns, two eggs basted, with a large flour tortilla in a cute little bowl and... a side serving of green chiles! "Wowzers!" I'd say when the server brought this plate of deliciousness to the table. I found out that it was always appropriate to inquire when ordering or being served, "How are the chiles today?" And the reply usually brought tears of delight to my eyes, "They are pretty hot today!" I'd enthusiastically respond, "Bring 'em on!"

After the meal and on the way to pay at the front counter, guests will always take notice of "The Sweet's Table" which has an inviting selection of tempting fresh made, take-home fare that includes: Cinnamon rolls, Krispy Treats, and a variety of cookies. My friend Ted and I ate a brunch-time breakfast just the other day and when we passed the sweets, Ted started gathering up a stack of some eight or so jumbo blocks of Krispy Treats. He saw my reaction and explained, "This is for the church staff! Do you want any?" At first, I answered no, but soon changed my mind with this teasing question, "Are you getting one for Craig (the music minister)?" And Ted quickly added, "Sure!" I responded, "Then, I want one too!"
A Jumbo Krispy Treat!

Weck's won me over years ago and I so wish we had this local chain back home in "Yankee Land," but this is all about the Southwest! While I have read about Chile pepper farms in Indiana, there is something about being out here and especially, in September, to enjoy the smells and tastes of roasted Chile peppers that have been grown in the Hatch Valley and all along the Rio Grande. The ABQ Visitor's  Bureau promises and delivers 300 days of sunshine in this part of the world! And I am continually intrigued by New Mexican culture and cuisine. This is a great place to call home!

Jesus had three dear friends that often invited Him to dine with them at their place in Bethany. Martha took charge of the cooking while her sister and brother, Mary and Lazarus, preferred to show their hospitality through conversation. I imagine how Jesus felt so "at home" in their fellowship and around their table at mealtime! Our Lord did some pretty incredible miracles with food and some of His most memorable teachings in settings where guests dined around low tables, on Galilean hillsides, and on sandy sea shores just before daybreak.

One day, Jesus brought home a truth at one of those sea shores near Tiberias. Several followers had been present to witness the events of the previous day when He had fed thousands by multiplying a few fish and loaves of bread. Now, the next day, they had caught up with Him. Evidently, these shallow would-be disciples were hoping to see Him do it again. Jesus said to them and to us as well, "For the bread of  God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" (John 6:33 NKJV). Jesus' overall mission was to give life to lost men and women and, not merely to feed the masses through His miracles.

While it's all right to love a good meal, we ought to love the Bread that is represented by Jesus' life infinitely more!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

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