Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tamales for the New Year

I had made tamales only one time before Elizabeth encouraged me to make them for New Years.  Consider four women in one small kitchen chopping, mixing, steaming, shredding, grating, sautéing, spreading, folding, and tying.  Imagine pots and bowls on ingredients stacked around cutting boards and bags of foods. The air is filled with warm, spicy aromas and everyone is busy doing two or three things at a time.   
Elizabeth chose two varieties from her mother's tamales cookbook.  One was for chicken and the other was vegetarian.  I cooked the chicken in the morning and then left with Sanford for a road trip to Sutherlind.  The three other women, Lynnea, Elizabeth, and Tammy (Elizabeth's mother) arrived around 1:30 to cook and assemble everything else.  By the time I stepped into my kitchen at 2:00 p.m., there wasn't a clear spot to set a glass of water.  We were scheduled to be at my mother's house at 5:00 pm with tamales.  Ha!  Besides the usual problems of figuring out a recipe you are not familiar with, the kitchen sink decided to protest.  While washing a pot, the hot water refused to shut off.  Justin and Sanford came to our rescue.
So now we have tool boxes and tools and two extra bodies in the already cozy kitchen AND no water for washing off hands.  Some precariously balanced cutting board crashed down onto Sanford's tray of screws and bolt supplying us with the setting for a good "I Love Lucy Show."  
The boys calmly gathered the hardware and fixed the sink and the girls got back to assembling enough ingredients to feed a football team. 
We realized that we were not going to make our dinner date by 5:00 p.m., however, by 6:00 p.m. the kitchen was clean and the second batch of tamales were nearly finished cooking.  We all headed over to my mother's house with pots of tamales keeping us warm in the freezing fog.  

I can honestly say that these were the best tamales I have ever eaten. 
I have a new appreciation for the women who make tamales for a living.
Next time my neighbor knocks on my door offering tamales for $2.00 a piece, I am going to think, "Wow, what a bargain.  I should buy a dozen."
I offer a big word of thanks to Elizabeth and Lynnea and Tammy for making such a fun and memorable time by issuing in a new year in the company of friends and honest, wholesome, delicious labor.

1 comment:

  1. Matthew agrees, they were the best tamales he's ever had. They really were exceptional.