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The Power of Tamales

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The Power of Tamales

I believe in the power of tamales. Every year my family gets together and eats tamales on Christmas Eve. My grandma’s tables are covered with desserts and snacks. The snacks are barely touched because everyone is trying to save room for the tamales. Until that time comes around, the sound of laughter and excitement rings all throughout the house as everyone catches up on the latest gossip and catches up with family from in and out of town. We can smell the tamales cooking all throughout the house. My grandma’s famous chile con carne bubbles away awaiting to the tamales it will smother. All of the children play downstairs while we patently wait.

“The tamales are ready!” My grandma calls out. With that, everyone rushes downstairs to grab the biggest ones. With plates in hands, everyone gathers around the table to enjoy this once-a-year treat. We all bow heads as my grandma gives thanks to the Lord for the wonderful food, to all of the hands that helped prepare the food, to those who traveled to be there, and those who are no longer with us. You can hear nothing but silence as everyone is chewing away. Tamales unite and remind us of what’s important, family, love and God.

The word tamale comes from the Aztec word tamalii which means wrapped food. They can be traced back in history, to 5000 B.C and were served to Aztec, Mayan, and Incan warriors because of their nutrition and ability to travel easily. Now days, tamales are eaten mainly during the fall because of their spiciness and warmth. In many Hispanic communities, the women use tamale making as a social event.

This tradition of over 50 years started when my grandparents met on Christmas Eve after midnight mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Topeka, Kansas. They started to date, married soon after, and started their small family. My grandma made tamales for my grandpa and herself starting one of many traditions that still happen in our family.

Even before Christmas comes, tamales can bring our family together. Every year we make the tamales a couple of weeks ahead and freeze them until Christmas Eve. My mom and some of my aunts prepare the masa, the meat, and the sauce. Us younger girls make an assembly line of all ages and start cranking out the tamales dozens at a time. Everyone has a job, whether it’s cooking it’s fillings, spreading the masa on the corn husks, folding to tamales, or even wash the dishes, everyone has a job. While all of the girls help out in the kitchen while the boys play outside, watch the babies, or watch basketball games.

Not only are tamales good to eat, but they bring so much more to the table, they bring laughter, memories and most important family. They bring families together every year across different communities throughout the nation, and abroad to me, tamales are a combination of good times, love, and togetherness all wrapped up and presented like a gift for the soul around the holidays.
Works Cited
History of Tamales. “Progressontamale.com.” Web. 8 Dec. 2009

<http://www.progressontamale.com/tamale/history_of_tamales.html.>
“The History of Tamales.” Sonofthesouth.net.” Web. 06 Dec. 2009.

<http://www.sonofthesouth.net/tamales/Tamales_History.htm.>





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Future_author said...
Aug. 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm
I love Tamales! specially Honduran Tamales they are the best!
 
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