Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tamale Night!

When I was in high school I had a friend whose family made tamales every year for Christmas. This was the only time of the year that they made them, so they made A LOT. They made dozens and dozens for Christmas Eve, they froze some, and they gave some away. One year they had this great idea to invite all the high school girls over to assemble the tamales. So Anita invited "the clump" of friends over which included: me, Nora, Amanda, and Arlene, and later we added in Valerie, Teri, and Jenny. That's a lot of teenage girls slappin' masa on ojas and topping it with red meat. We learned some of the ins and outs of the tamale making (like chanting for the masa to float when Mr. Verdugo would drop a piece in the glass of water), but mostly we just assembled and ate a few of the finished products.

I'm not sure how many years of high school we were invited over to tamale night but it became an annual event for many of us. Some of us were more dedicated than others for various reasons (friendship, love of tamales, boredom). Anita went away to Notre Dame for college, but we still tried to get together. I was roommates with Valerie so I think we both ended up there for a year or two after graduation. In fact, Valerie even started making Christmas ornaments to give us each year which I always looked forward to. I still have them hanging on my tree. I've missed one year... the year Bill, Billy and I went to Minnesota for Christmas.

But here's the thing: I don't even really like tamales. Seriously, the red meat mixed with the masa does absolutely nothing for me. Slap some of that meat on a homemade tortilla though, and ba-da-bing, I've got myself a winner! And boy does Mrs. V make a fine tortilla. Every year I tell her I'm going to come over after the holiday break to learn how to make them. I've been saying that for 5+ years... maybe this is the year. A couple of years ago they threw me a loop and added green corn tamales to the line up. HELLO! Green corn, baby, where have you been all my life?! YUM-UM-MEE!! Besides tasting delish they are super simple: just slap some mix in the oja and fold it up, easy. In fact, they are so easy I enlisted some help this year:
Kyra, a natural born tamale maker
Kyra did such a fantastic job and she is such a delight to be around. Mr. and Mrs. V were very impressed with her abilities and kindness. She and I made 6 dozen of our own green corn tamales to take home (I brought my own supplies this year). We took a break for some red meat burritos (my personal favorite), Kyra tried some pan de huevo (did I spell that right?), and I finished assembling the rest of their red tamales. THEN, Kyra helped them make 3 dozen more green corn tamales while I cleaned up the kitchen. She was such a trooper they invited her back next year.


Monique said...

Should be huevo. :*

Sounds like you had fun, now I needs to try me some green corn tamales.

H said...

Thanks Mo, I fixed it! I knew it didn't look right and should have thought of the 'h'. If the 'j' and the 'h' both sound like a 'h-h-h-h' in Spanish, how do you know when to use which one?

Crystal said...

I love all tamales. I think when Brandon is older I am going to make it a Christmas tradition in my family to make them as well.