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Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve - stockings stuffed - traditions galore - bring on the abundance


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!

41 comments:

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Christo - You have a wonderful tradition with your tamales, something I've never tasted, sadly. I'm going to need a trip to New Mexico (or to your house)! In the meantime, I gratefully accept your virtual tamales and wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas.

Anette said...

The tamales look so wonderful, and each of them hides it's treasure like a present! I wish I could have one, or maybe two?
Happy Christmas, and a Wonderful New Year, Christo, for you and your family, from Anette and her family in Norway!

highlandsranchfoodie said...

My last trip to our large Mexican market found stacks of tamale steamers so tall you could hardly find the food. I was tempted, but didn't buy one. One of my coworkers is getting together today with about 15 of her relatives to spend the day making tamales. Really want to try it sometime, I've had fresh made and nothing compares. Merry Christmas.

Jamie said...

I have never had a tamale and now feel like I've missed out on something huge. They look so delicious! Wishing you and your family a very Happy and Healthy Holiday Season and a New Year full of joy and prosperity.

Jeannie said...

Neither have I tasted tamales...they certainly look interesting...Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too!

Melody said...

These are my favorite! I've never made them but it is on my list of things to do. Have a wonderful Christmas!

vanillasugar said...

one of these days i will make a mean tamales. i hope you and your family have a wonderful christmas too!

Cynthia said...

So can we make a deal a year in advance? That is, that next year Christmas (the heavens willing), I am at your place for Christmas Dinner?

Have a great holiday my friend. Sending tight hugs.

Marjie said...

Dear Christo, I enjoy your memories of New Mexico traditions (and am just a bit jealous). I too think of our friend Buffalo often, and feel a twinge of sadness for them today. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Christo, and wishes for a joyous and prosperous 2011.

Marjie

zippiknits said...

What a delicious topic. This brings back many happy memories. My aunties got together to make tamales for Christmas Eve.. and on an on. Now my daughters make them.

Merry Christmas to you! Happy New Year, too!

gigabiting said...

My love of tamales transcends nostalgia although I too grew up with the Christmas tradition. Not my own family's tradition, but so many of my SF neighbors'. I'm getting homesick. And hungry.
Have a wonderful holiday.

Kitt said...

I was at a a tamalada last weekend. 78 dozen! Tamales are a delicious tradition. Merry Christmas!

Creative Mish said...

They look delish. I want pork in mine :) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your Family!

teresa said...

merry christmas christo! i actually made tamales for the first time for christmas eve too! it's a tradition that i plan to keep around for a long time. have a wonderful holiday!

mermayd said...

they look wonderful! merry christmas!

FOODalogue said...

Wonderful sentiment.

All the best to you and those you hold dear in 2011,

Joan

LookyTasty said...

Ooo! the tamales look wonderful! Hope you have a very merry christmas!

theUngourmet said...

One day I will make tamales! It's on my list. I loved reading your post, it made my morning even nicer. I hope you and you family are having a wonderful Christmas!

Mexico in my kitchen said...

So you are like me. just put together some masa and the stuffing of your liking and make some 20 tamales.
They are such a great comfort food. I wish more people cook them .

Merry Christmas and Happy new year to you, too.

Victoria said...

I only recently heard of this tradition to make tamales for Christmas, but these look wonderful!! I've never made a tamale in my life! I do understand growing up having parties to make time-consuming dishes, because that's exactly what we do to make Manti, which is my favorite Armenian dish :) Every culture's got one, haha. Merry Christmas, Christo!

Jessie Carty said...

It shames me to admit I've never had tamales!

urban vegan said...

Gorgeous tamales. Funny how we all have different comfort foods and nostalgic recipes.

Happy New Year!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

All the best for the holidays and for the year ahead, Christo.

♥peachkins♥ said...

my mom loves tamales but we've never tried making them. I hope I could get one of those goody bags from my screen!

Angie's Recipes said...

Christo, you made some really good tamales! 24 is just perfect.
I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!
Angie

Joanne said...

happy holidays Christo! I think my family needs some serious food tradition. I've never tried my hands at tamales but they're one of those things that I would love to master. I'm pretty sure you could stuff them with anything and they'd be delicious.

Drick said...

I must be doing something wrong, although I love tamales, making them for me is a two day process.... gonna have to find out your secret.... best wishes for a wonderful New Year

Jenn said...

You know tamales is something I've been dying to make. Hope you had a great Christmas. Looking forward to the new year. :)

girlichef said...

I hope you and the fam had a wonderful holiday...and we made tamales, too! I'd never heard that before, but I'm glad to hear it...since I shared some w/ the neighbors ;)

My Carolina Kitchen said...

You are so right. The end of the year is a wonderful time to reflect and remember. Homemade tamales sound so comforting.

Hope you are safe and warm up there in the big city after the blizzard.
Sam

Sippity Sup said...

Tamales are my tradition too. Well actually of of Los Angeles considers them essential right now! GREG

Kitchen Hideaway said...

Your tamale party sounds so fun! They of my all-time favorites! If you're ever in San Francisco, look for the tamale lady: a woman who goes from dive bar to dive bar selling homemade tamales out of a cooler! Best in the world!! She even made stickers that say: I heart the tamale lady.

Ann said...

What a beautiful post. Great pictures, well written and I love the tradition of tamales!

Magic of Spice said...

Your tamales look so amazing, and I just love the photo with that beautiful sauce. I really love tamales but have never made my own.
I hope you had an amazing Holiday, and wishing you a perfect New Years and wonderful 2011!

whatscookingwithdoc said...

Same to you! Those look delicious; what is your favorite sauce to put over the tamales?

Mary said...

Your tamales look wonderful and your tradition is quite lovely. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a bright New Year. Blessings...Mary

Lori Lynn said...

Ooh, gorgeous shot of the tamales with the sauce.
Dear Christo - wishing you a fabulous new year. Here's to a delicious 2011!
LL

Toni said...

I've sat down with friends in New Mexico to make tamales, and it took us all day. When we went home, we probably had a couple dozen each - at most. Of course, we DID eat a "few" along the way....

Not even the lure of great tamales would make me want to move back to New York, but I'd love to watch you "throw some together".......HAH! LOL!

Glad I discovered your blog!

gringarl said...

i always thought making tamales is such a big deal, reading your post sounds like a piece of cake. i love eating tamales and you got me thinking of making my own. thanks

New Year begins, let us pray,
that it will be a year with new Peace,
New Happiness, and abundance of new friends,
God bless you through out the new Year.

My Taste Heaven said...

awesome :D

happy 2011 to you! god bless xx

Cynthia said...

Happy New Year honey.

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