History of Tamales

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Tamale History:

Hot Tamale

Tamales just might be the best food ever created. If you have ever had a good one, you know just what I am talking about. Tamales are best on a cold winter day. The spiciness and the warmth do a body good.

Tamales can be traced back as early as 5000 BC. They served as a nutritious and portable food for Aztec, Mayan, and Incan warriors.

In modern times, Tamales have become a favorite fall time food in Mexico and many parts of the United States. I have observed that it is really as much about making them as it is about eating them. Growing up, I can remember the Hispanic women in the community gathering in the fall to make tamales. Tamale making was a social event . . . a time to renew old friendships and make new ones. Often young women would return home to make tamales with their mother.

Now, as an adult, I see that this tamale making tradition has expanded beyond the Hispanic community. Many people remember growing up next to a sweet old Mexican woman, and remember fondly her tamales, and the warmth and love with which she shared them. They long for another taste, and decide to try and make a batch themselves. I receive numerous emails from people every day sharing their childhood memories of tamales, and their desire to rekindle the tradition in their own family. For them, making tamales takes them back to a simpler and more peaceful time.

In making tamales, you are not just making and sharing great food, you are creating memories. There are lots of things you can do with your friends or children that generate memories, but there is something special about tamale memories. I think it is the combination of the good time, the smells, and the wonderful taste that combine to create a poignant memory that will last a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

This site is dedicated to the Loving Memory of Goya Pina, who taught me how to cook tamales, and many other delicious Mexican Food dishes.  She died in 1998 at the age of 78.

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