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Our Tamales Tradition (w/photos)

It's a yearly Christmas tradition for my family to get together and make tamales, and yesterday was our making/cooking day. 

Each year, the matriarch of the family prepares the masa (corn dough) and the meat filling for the tamales.  (we make a traditional pork and red sauce filling)  For years it was my grandma and grandad who prepped everything.  A few years ago my mama and dad took over the prepping to give my grandma a break.  On tamale day, all the women of the family get together to make the tamales.  It's an all day thing of working, talking, and hanging out.  My sister and I have brought our daughters into the tradition, so it is usually 3 or 4 generations of our family making the tamales.  Because my grandma is mostly blind now, she opted out of helping this year. 

We have one little twist on the usual practice of making tamales - our family puts a single black olive in each tamale.  We really don't remember when or how that little tradition started, but it makes our tamales different from everyone else's and it's a special job to make sure each tamales has an olive.  This year my 10 yr old neice was the olive placer - her first year to help with making tamales.  :)

We used 25 pounds of masa to make the meat tamales and another 5 pounds of masa to make sweet tamales.  For sweet ones, we start with plain masa and add brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins and crushed pineapple and mix it all in until it's well blended and sweet to taste.  Sweet tamales are great with coffee!

Below you'll see a couple of photos of us in the kitchen. It was a long day and a lot of work, but the tamales came out great.  And it was nice to share our tradition with our daughters and have that family time together.


That's me on the right, my daughter Makenna next to me, my neice Victoria in the black tshirt and her friend Alexis, who asked to join in this year.  We're speading the masa on the ojas (corn husks) and laying them out to wait to get filled. 

In this picture, you can see my mama, left, my sister Alicia in the yellow t shirt, her daughter Victoria drinking coffee, Alexis, and Makenna. Yup, Makenna is wearing reindeer antlers to keep things festive.  lol  And we're all wearing aprons and head scarves to keep ourselves clean and the area clean.  That masa is messy stuff!




  Goddess Johnnie 

by on Dec. 22, 2013 at 1:32 PM
Replies (11-18):
SeanandNoahsmom
by Manning Fan on Dec. 22, 2013 at 10:28 PM
1 mom liked this

 That is awesome- the tamales ( especially sweet for me) sound yummy. thanks for sharing.

eating

alexgia
by Silver sister on Dec. 23, 2013 at 4:03 PM
1 mom liked this

what nice pictures and a nice tradition.  i love tamales, but have never had sweet tamales.  there is a little market near us that sells them so i will try them.

jmlmomma
by Momma's new BFF on Dec. 23, 2013 at 4:12 PM

I love it! We used to make cookies together.. I miss those times..

Just this year a friend of mine brought us some tamales from a little place they stop at while traveling.  That was the first time I had ever had home made tamales...they were so good..... I would love a recipe if you share...

Lb128f
by Silver sister on Dec. 23, 2013 at 4:20 PM
1 mom liked this

Thanks for sharing..it looks like a beautiful family tradition!

ALolies
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by Red Room Rebel on Dec. 23, 2013 at 4:30 PM
1 mom liked this

This a wonderful tradition. I am so glad your daughter and niece are getting involved.

GoddessJohnnie
by Goddess Johnnie on Dec. 23, 2013 at 11:24 PM

There are lots of different types of sweet ones, so be sure and ask what is in them or what type they are.  I know lots of people who make strawberry ones using frozen strawberries, but that just sounds gross to me.  lol

Quoting alexgia:

what nice pictures and a nice tradition.  i love tamales, but have never had sweet tamales.  there is a little market near us that sells them so i will try them.


GoddessJohnnie
by Goddess Johnnie on Dec. 23, 2013 at 11:27 PM

I wouldn't be able to give you a recipe because it's all done by sight and taste - we never measure anything.  It's that way with a lot of 'traditional' foods for my family.  We don't do recipes, we watch my mama/grandma make it and follow the same steps but make it to our own tastes. 


Quoting jmlmomma:

I love it! We used to make cookies together.. I miss those times..

Just this year a friend of mine brought us some tamales from a little place they stop at while traveling.  That was the first time I had ever had home made tamales...they were so good..... I would love a recipe if you share...


RoseWall
by RoseWall on Dec. 24, 2013 at 12:14 AM
1 mom liked this

how wonderful...love it!

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