Call it a chile, a chili or a pepper: Hatch is back (and in a poke bowl near you)

We’re back in the Hatch action, my friends.

Every August, Austin is inundated with all things Hatch. Sometimes too much Hatch, some might say.

Hatch chile peppers are now for sale at many Austin-area grocers. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

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I’ve grown to love the craziness associated with this variation of an Anaheim pepper grown around Hatch, N.M., and every year, I pick up at least a few new Hatch products to taste test. I don’t love the Hatch cookies and apple pies and pound cakes, but I don’t mind the bratwursts, tortilla chips and crab cakes.

Local stores sell lots of Hatch products in August, and it’s no surprise to see the year’s biggest food trend — poke — combined with the famed New Mexico pepper. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

After 20 years of heavy Hatch promotion, the local grocery stores — especially Central Market, Whole Foods and, more recently, H-E-B — continue to come up with new products, even though it seems like they’ve made every Hatch product imaginable.

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My question this year isn’t to the grocery stores — it’s for the AP Stylebook, which makes me write “chilies” instead of “chiles” or “chilis.”

Why must we insist on that spelling, AP? Why? I know this is a low priority issue in these newsy times, but, on behalf of the states of Texas and New Mexico, would y’all mind to reexamine the chile/chili entry?

Until then, I’ll keep working on “chilies” when I’d rather go with the L.A. Times style of “chiles” and “chile,” with “chili” reserved for the beef stew. As for whether it’s a “chile pepper” or a “pepper” or just a “chile,” I think that comes down to personal preference.

Agree? Disagree? Tell me about it, especially if you’re from New Mexico.

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