Tradition of the Tamales
Eating tamales when they first come out of the pot is a supernatural experience. The steam rises, and the delightful aroma that make’s my mouth water and my vocal cords say yummy. The corn husk is holding the bundle of flavors. This bundle has been stuffed with corn meal, and it’s arsenal of chicken, savory meat, cheese and whatever was in my momma’s imagination. Like the vegetarian, or the sweet little dessert tamales with cinnamon and raisins, pineapple and coconut. The spices and variety of chilies gives the tamales delicious flavors and coloring. All the while they are slowly cooking in the hot steam. Stabbing the fork in the center of the warm tamale in order to retrieve a piece; is the most delicious and tender part of it. It promotes anticipation from the moment when the tasty cornmeal touches the lips. Placing a piece in the mouth and feeling its soft texture as well as tasting its flavors, creates a wonderful feeling of love and joy. Eating it with some freshly made salsa made the dish more enjoyable. As far back as I can remember my momma had always made delicious tamales. My parents are both hard workers so when money and the time was right we would call it tamale day. The labor started Friday afternoon the season of the shredded meat with chili powder, salt, and cumin to taste. As you season the meat, add a small amount of broth to moisten meat, but it should not be runny. For every 2 cups of masa harina, add 1/2 cup of shortening or lard, 1 teaspoon of salt, and enough chili powder to make the pink dough. Add broth mixture a little at a time to the masa and mix with your hands to get a smooth, spreadable consistency. If you run out of broth, you can use hot water, but you will wish you had plenty of broth. The cleaning of the corn husk will be done in the afternoon by my two brothers and me. We would play and work at it at the same time. In the middle of stupid jokes some foul language, so inappropriate...
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