This November, “Joseph and Mary” will celebrate 60 years of marriage and 60 years of tamales.You can bet that our ten-month-old Sofia will be making tamales like her great-grandmother as soon as she can stand on a stool and mix masa!She is a real-life Tita from Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water For Chocolate…a must read for all Foodies) – she was born to cook.When my Grandma, Maria Elucresia Herrera, entered the world “early,” in October of 1922, she weighed only 3 pounds.In my travels, I have had savory meat tamales wrapped in corn husks spiked with ground chilies, large tamales wrapped in banana leaves, smothered in Oaxacan mole, sweet little dessert tamales with cinnamon and raisins inside, Costa Rican Christmas tamales with green and red bell peppers (void of anything “picante”) to celebrate the season, a Marin County white tablecloth version overlooking the San Francisco Bay, far too many poor renditions at various Mexican-American restaurants, and then there are Grandma’s.Anything my Grandma’s hands have touched is beyond delicious.This process is called nixtamalization and was developed in Mesoamerica, and used to sustain Aztec and Mayan warriors.
Through the years, with seven children, 18 grandchildren, and now two great-grandchildren pulling at her apron strings, she has perfected her tamales.
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