Taos A to Z: T Taos Unlimited's Taos A to Z

The historic and enchanting Taos Pueblo.Taos Founders (see Taos Society of Artists)
Refers to the original members of the Taos Society of Artists. (~Aimee)

Taos Pueblo
Home to the Tewa people for close to 1,000 years, the original buildings of the Taos Pueblo are the longest continuously inhabited structures in the United States. An historic treasure, the Pueblo is home to 150 Taos Indians, while another 1,900 live in more contemporary housing on Taos Pueblo land. Probably the most visited pueblo in New Mexico, a visit to this sacred place offers the most authentic look at the lifestyle of the ancient pueblo peoples. (~Aimee)

Taos Society of Artists
Two of the first Society of Artists members discovered Taos by chance on September 3, 1898, when New York artists Ernest L. Blumenschein and Bert Geer Phillips sought repair for a broken wagon wheel on a sketching and painting trip to Mexico. According to legend, "Blumy" as he was called, left the wagon and hiked into town to arrange for the repair. By the time the wagon was ready, Phillips and Blumenschein were so taken with the landscape and local culture, they decided to stay in Taos to paint. Both artists had traveled in Europe, where they were taken with art colonies, and had formulated plans to start such a colony in America. Their discovery of the rugged landscape and spectacular light in Taos inspired the location.

Soon after arriving in Taos, Bert Phillips fell in love with the local doctor's sister, and they were soon married. Several months later, Blumenschein returned to New York, but he continued to visit Taos almost every summer until 1919, when he and his family moved there permanently. Following the original trip to Taos in 1898, word spread of the beauty and spiritual nature of the area. More artists visited, some moving here with their families, and on July 1, 1915, the Taos Society of Artists was founded, with the six original members becoming known as the Taos Founders. The purpose of the Society was much the same as an artists cooperative, to promote the showing and sale of their work. To this end, exhibitions of their paintings circulated across the country, exposing art lovers to unfamiliar cultures and landscapes, and ultimately promoting Taos as one of the most important art colonies in America. (~Aimee)
NOTE: See our special feature on Taos as an Art Colony
The tamale is one the staples of New Mexico eating.
A tamale (in Spanish, “tamal”) is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of steam-cooked corn dough (masa) with or without a filling. The most common filling is pork, but chicken is also used, in either red or green salsa or mole. Tamales can also be filled with cheese, sliced chiles, or other ingredients. The tamale is wrapped in a corn husk before cooking. Tamales are a favorite dish in Mexico that take several hours to prepare and cook. In Northern New Mexican cities and towns, many locals market homemade tamales in shopping areas and supermarket parking lots. For those who love tamales, but don’t have the time or skill to prepare them, this is an easy way for them to enjoy the classic Mexican treat. (~Jean)

The taquito or "little taco" is truly a delicious snack.
A taquito (in Spanish meaning “little taco”) is a Mexican dish, consisting of a small rolled-up tortilla and some sort of filling, usually beef or chicken. The filled tortilla is then crisp-fried. Corn tortillas are generally used to make taquitos. Flautas, a variation of this dish, are commonly made using wheat flour tortillas, but the name, taquito, is sometimes applied to both types. Simple, but extremely tasty, taquitos are usually served on a bed of shredded lettuce, with salsa and guacamole. In America, taquitos are very popular as a frozen food, and they are also sold in convenience stores as a quick-to-pick-up pre-heated snack. (~Jean)

The tomatillo is a plant of the Solanaceae family, related to tomatoes. It bears small, spherical green or green-purple fruit. Tomatillos, referred to as “green tomato” (in Spanish “tomate verde”) in Mexico, are a staple in Mexican cuisine. The tomatillo fruit is surrounded by a paper-like husk. As the fruit matures, it fills the husk and can split it open by harvest time. The husk turns brown, and the fruit will be a variety of colors when ripe: yellow, red, green, or even purple. Tomatillos are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked Latin American green sauces. Even though tomatillos are sometimes referred to as "green tomatoes" (as mentioned above), they should not be confused with actual green, unripe tomatoes. (~Jean)

Tumbleweeds mass at a field fence outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The above-ground part of a plant that has died, separates from the root and tumbles away in the wind, tumbleweeds are an icon of the Old West. Usually, the tumbleweed is the entire plant apart from the roots, but in a few species it is a flower cluster. As the tumbleweed is blown around, it disperses its seed. This is most common in desert areas. (~Aimee)

Sam Elliott, star of "Connagher."
A Bit of Tumbleweed Movie Trivia: In the film "Connagher," Katherine Ross is a widow living in the Old West, who is so lonely, she attaches notes and bits of poetry to tumbleweeds. Many of them are found and collected by Sam Elliott, an acquaintance of hers. Unbeknownst to them both, they fall in love with each other through their interaction, as well as through the notes. (~Aimee)

Pictured top to bottom:
1} Taos Pueblo; 2} The tamale; 3} Taquitos or "little tacos"; 4} Tumbleweeds pile up along a barbed wire fence in Northern New Mexico

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