EL ANDAR |
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|WINTER 1999 ISSUE||
By el Andar Staff
How to tie a tamale
These amounts are for small-to medium-sized hojas
1) Place a large finger-sized portion of masa in the middle of the hoja, leaving space at each end.
2) Roll one side of the husk over the masa
3) then the other.
4) Fold the bottom up, about a third or more of the way.
5) Fold the top down and place a string or strip hoja behind the tamale.
6) Tie it up with a good knot.
7) Another way if the husks are smallish is to not fold as all, just tie both ends.
At this California-style tamalada, cultures blend like the ingredients as Chicanos get back to their roots.
Mexican families have always gathered the whole, huge, extended family together when its time to make tamales. Tamaladas are like parties: the kids race through the house, the adults sit, drink beer and talk, and all the while, the serious cooks are preparing tamales in the kitchen. A tamalada can take many hours, but in the end, everyone is fed and usually has tamales to take home.
This modern-day tamalada came off a bit differently, as a new generation tried to recapture tradition in a distinctly California way. Luckily, there were some experts on hand to help: the Albas, Doña Gloria and Don Pano, were visiting from Mexico City, and they take cooking very seriously.
Among the guests were German visitors, Chicanos, Anglos, Mexicans and the ubiquitous Irish, an eclectic bunch of artists, social workers and one policeman. The setting was a sunny afternoon near the beach in the backyard of Reynaldo Barrioz, a local cultural worker and graphic artist. Reynaldo provided twenty pounds of masa, and the guests brought fillings and snacks. snacks.
Eight o'clock and they're still not done! This test tamale was not wrapped correctly and is falling apart, like the guests themselves.
Finally! Nine pm and the tired, hungry guests sample their work. The tamales are delicious. Quite a few guests have left and others are too tired to eat. Those who stuck it out will enjoy tamales for a week. And they freeze pretty well, too.