Las Tamaladas

Many Latino families are preparing by making hundreds of tamales, at parties known as tamaladas. These simple packages of masa wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves are in some ways a symbol of the large and vibrant Latino culture that has been inter grated into the America’s history for more then 100 years. Tamaladas became an important part of the culture because making tamales is so labor intensive, it takes a small army of family and friends to make the amount that gets eaten and shared throughout the season. Without anyone’s help it can take forever and can tired a person out.

It involves multiple generations of family members gathered together to help prepare the masa, cook the meat filling, assemble the tamales and there is always someone to watch over the cooking of the tamales. There is always a family member to supervise the young ones on the assembly line to make sure that they were spreading the correct amount of masa on the husk, adding the right proportion of filling and folding them correctly.

Every family has different ways of preparing tamales, and as with many family recipes, the measurements are done by sight, smell or taste. But in my case, tamales are usually done by my mother who learned how to make some with my grandfather from my dad side. My grandfather along side my aunt and I help out to make tamales.

Tamales take a lot of work but at the end of the day, people enjoy it and it brings people together. Sometimes if they are good enough, people will steal some when you’re not looking.

One Comment Add yours

  1. In your family, do men play a role in the tamalada? In my family, historically, the dudes haven’t helped, save for some of the heavy lifting, but over the years, we’ve stepped in. Actually, I was the first to be a part of it, to volunteer, because I started to realize how unfair it was that the mujeres did all the work, but also because I wanted to be a part of the ceremony. When I was a chamaquito, I was like some of the kids in the image you have here (and what a cool image it is!), but around middle school, I stopped hanging out there. Since I started helping, my father and some of my nephews have begun to join, since they understand how important it is to learn this cultural knowledge.

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