My First Tamalada

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This weekend I attended my first Tamalada, where a family gets together before Christmas to make dozens of homemade tamales. (Note: One tamal is never pronounced tah-mallee according to a posting on word pirates). So I arrived at the tamalada just when Grandma was mixing the masa in a large ceramic bowl that she brought with her from her house in San Antonio. Next a mixture of cooked and blended New Mexico chiles were added to the masa. Grandma also added lots of salt since it steams away later. On the stove was a pork rump that was shredded and mixed with jalapenos. Then it was time to assemble the tamales. On on a long table in the garage everyone sat spreading masa onto corn shucks. Grandma made sure that we did not spread the masa too high or too thick on the shucks. I found myself needing constant approval from Grandma– that I was doing really good for a first timer. Most of the men of the family seemed to vanish during this process. I was continuously supplied with Tunas Margaritas made from the purple thorny pulp of cactus. All the women at the table were laughing and telling stories. I was trying to figure out how to convince Grandma to adopt me into her wonderful family. Finally the meat was added on top of the masa and the shucks were folded to form the tamal. After a three hour steam we had a taste—yumm. But what I like most about the tamalada was how the entire family was brought together for this yearly ritual. Thanks Abuelita.

1 Comment so far

  1. Rantor (unregistered) on December 15th, 2004 @ 3:45 pm

    Your pictures and account are wonderful. I’ve never progressed beyond placing and spreading the first batch of masa on the hoja. One year the masa was the very devil to even out. The consistency had changed. That was the last of that experiment. It’s been all lard ever since!

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