It has been years since I made tamales with my Mom. Mostly because it's very labor intensive and requires a crew for the assembly line folding. For Christmas 2017, we decided to make the jump and go for it.
With just Mom and I, we managed to stay up all night and made over 100 tamales. Well, I lost count but easily around that number. We peeled garbanzos, chopped potatoes, cleaned farm-raised chickens, all surrounded by anecdotes that started "cuando mi mamá lo hacia asi". The hours in the kitchen provided us the safe space to chat, share chisme and I learned how generations of women in our family cooked. Tamales brought us together and when cooked, they bring people together in a damn delicious way. Radio Pulgarcito provided the perfect soundtrack to our midnight cooking session.
In between roasting banana leaves, mixing the masa and getting the achiote spice just right, I managed to capture her movements with a few gifs.
I definitely teared up when I had my first set of cooked tamales. You can taste our hard work. You can taste the levels of complexities. You can taste how every ingredient makes a melody to this sweet song in your mouth. Tamales are our family history wrapped up in a banana leaf. Savor it.
The finished product: