Have you ever heard that joke, "Why do Mexicans have tamales at Christmas?" "So we will have something to unwrap!" Hardy, har, har. Insert knee slap here. That isn't a very nice joke, I don't guess, but I'm Mexican and it doesn't offend me and I hope it doesn't offend others.
The real reason we have tamales is because it is a time honored tradition. It is an opportunity to spend time together to commune and work. Yes, making tamales is A LOT of work! That must be why nobody in our family makes them anymore. Another one of those things for which we just don't have time. I can remember going with my mom to my Aunt Mercy's house to help her make dozens and dozens of tamales...because if you are going to go to the trouble you may as well make a lot. There were times my aunt would reciprocate the favor and go to our house and help mom. I mostly always just got in the way and ate raw masa until I was about to burst.
The last several years, Mom and I have made tamales together. My mom is a strong lady. She is in her seventies and can still make the best tamales with the best of them. Making tamales and chopping the vegetables the night before Thanksgiving for the corn bread dressing are two things I look forward to doing with my mom every year. We are doing something so mundane, yet bonding and being friends and just sharing love in our own way. Man, those memories stand vividly in my mind.
She was always so patient with me. You would think I would remember what to do from year to year, but I didn't, so she would have to start over teaching me every year. My heart overflows thinking of all I learn from my Mama. I am so blessed to have such an awesome Mama and I can tell you I thank God for her often! I have to admit...I am often impatient and get grouchy at times, but she knows that is just me and that I love her more than life itself. Ahhh, the unconditional love of a Mama. I can't even imagine how hard it must be for a mama to let her child go out into the world and learn their own lessons and make their own mistakes all the while making them believe she has all the confidence in the world in that child, but she did it perfectly. In case you couldn't tell...I really love my Mama and cherish every moment with her...and NO, you cant have her...but I am happy to share!
Next post, I promise...the tamale recipe!