No matter what I will never get tired of tamales. Tamale making is a big part, no a huge part of my cultural heritage and while we may not gather around in huge extended family groups here in New York City we still get the job done, well I get the job done. I am pretty fast at throwing together a couple dozen tamales and I do it often throughout the year but it is at this time of year that these little wrapped packages of chile goodness take on their magic. Modern decor can abound but the simple tamale will always shine in its perfection. How perfect is a corn husk wrapped around corn masa wrapped around your favorite filling?
When I was a kid in New Mexico my mom and grandmothers and aunts would get together and make massive quantities of these bad boys and because of the sheer volume of of tamales produced the "tamalada" was a big deal. (a tamalada is simply a tamale making party but you can google it for a more specific definition) As a result we all grew up thinking making tamales was a lot of work and it is when you are making enough for our huge clan - that translates into dozens and dozens and dozens and then dozens more.
Around these parts I make a couple dozen whenever the mood hits, 24 tamales is really no big deal and if you want to search "tamale" on my blog you will see how often I make them throughout the year. Did I tell you how much I love tamales? I think of my old friend Buffalo Dick now whenever I make them since he always thought making tamales was similar to climbing Mount Everest, complete with Sherpas and extreme conditions and I wish I could have had the chance to show him how easy it really is - Buffalo you will always be on my mind.
Nostalgia is a big part of the end of the year and I wanted to take the time to reflect back on what a wonderful year it has been. Sure there have been some setbacks and some loss but when it is all said and done the beauty and the hope always shines through. We have all grown as people, as bloggers, as writers, as artists, as cooks and most importantly as a community. What ever holiday you celebrate I hope it brings you joy and if you were anywhere near me you would be receiving a little tamale gift(s) because someone told me once that giving tamales at the end of the year will bring both the giver and the receiver a wealth of abundance so my virtual friends I give you ALL tamales! (vegan, vegetarian, chicken, pork and sweet - you can have your pick and just so you know how non traditional I keep this tradition the tamale plate pictured above is wild mushroom and queso de oaxaca with simple red chile sauce - vegetarian all the way and take out the cheese and its vegan). HAPPY HOLIDAYS and A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!