Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hot Tamales

"Hot tamales!  Get 'em here!"  I was a kid on a train trip when we pulled in to San Antonio, Texas.  I can hear the vendor's voices hawking their wares at the station.  As an adult with children of my own, we were camping on the sand at San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.  Each evening a little boy came through the campground selling his mother's tamales from an enameled bucket.  I've got a long history with tamales.

Camille, Debbie K. and I got started a little late, but once we got rolling, it was Katy-bar-the-door!  Honey, ever hopeful, positioned herself so that she could clean up any mistakes while I shredded the pork.  I had three different recipes, so we were using bits from each and creating a fourth.  Debbie K. took on the masa and we ended up using all ten pounds of masa harina, with the liquid from the pork and from the boiled chiles for flavor.  Debbie had made tamales before, but it was a new experience for Camille.  It wasn't long until they were turning out packets like pros.  I was chief cook and bottle washer.  Lots of chatter and giggles and a slurp of beer now and then, and the tamales started piling up.  I didn't actually count how many, but I cooked five big soup pots loaded with dozens of tamales each.  We had time to sample the first batch of the pork while others steamed.  The ladies were mighty pleased.  Then it was back to work; we had yet to make the jack cheese and jalapeno pepper variety.  There was time for a much-needed break while they cooked.   Served with a fresh tomatillo salsa on top, they were really good, too.  As the sun started dropping, I packed to-go bags (sorry, Honey, no doggy bags) for Debbie and Camille.  We all agreed it was a worthwhile endeavor and a very good day.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

Ah, it sounds like a wonderful afternoon of camaraderie, fun, and good eats! I have never made tamales but do enjoy eating them, and I DO have a tamale story from our family. When my brother was about 4, he saw a Porky Pig cartoon on TV and was very perplexed as he said to my folks, over and over..."He says Hocka Maui, but it looks like CORN to me!" Well, we had NO idea what he was talking about until YEARS later when the same cartoon surfaced. So...Porky Pig was a vendor at a baseball game, and as he went thru the stands he shouted out to sell his wares: "Hot Tamales!" And in true cartoon fashion, the corn-husk wrapper was drawn to look more like an ear of corn. So, in our house, a "Hot Tamale" will forever be a "Hocka Maui!"