Taking on Tamales

Banana Leaf Wrapped TamalesPhoto by Ignacio Urquiza

Banana Leaf Wrapped Tamales
Photo by Ignacio Urquiza

Tamales are one of the staples of holiday menus throughout Mexico and to anyone of Mexican heritage, it is the single food that is inseparable from Christmas. I think it is important for Mexican restaurants to serve at least two or three different types of tamales throughout the holiday season, and those home cooks may find it a fun family activity to make them together, even in advance and then freeze them to use later. As described in the “Taking on Tamales” article written by editor Kathleen Furore of el Restaurante MEXICANO, Fall 2012, I suggest corn husk-wrapped Tamales Navideños with shredded, cooked turkey or chicken in a mole of ground toasted peanuts, sesame seeds, chiles anchos, mulatos and pasillas, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon and Mexican chocolate. Another recipe is a banana leaf-wrapped tamal, such as one from Veracruz pictured above, where the masa is filled with small chunks of pork, zucchini, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and chiles, and always, a tamal dulce recipe (sweet tamal). This could be tamales de piña con coco served with ice cream, toasted almonds or pecans, and fresh pineapple, or a sweet and spicy tamal recipe with canned pumpkin purée and spices mixed into the masa.

To read the full post and get recipes, go here.

TriniGourmet’s Review

Here is an excerpt from TriniGourmet’s review of La Cocina Mexicana: Many Cultures, One Cuisine.

“Not only is it a loving record of the places and people she’s encountered in over 30 years of organizing culinary tours, she writes so evocatively that you quickly feel as though those experiences are your own!

Not simply a cookbook, La Cocina Mexicana, also strives to form a historical record of the cultures and landscapes of the many regions and peoples of Mexico. Infinitely more diverse than I was aware, this is not a cookbook for those who are looking for tacos, quesadillas, or a simple bean dip. It’s not that those are not available, however, Mexican cuisine is so much more. This is after all a country of 111 million people! Tausend opens our eyes, and palates, to the dishes of such indigenous peoples as the Zapotecs, Mayans and Otomí.

She also vividly describes and elaborates on the influence of not only the Spanish and French on Mexican cuisine, but also the Africans who were brought as slaves and whose place names and descendants still populate the Veracruz region, as well as the northern Pacific coast. In providing the idiom ‘you can find ah Trini anywhere’, the Roman Catholic priest for one of these remote Afro-Mexican communities was a Trinidadian priest by the name of Father Glyn Jemmott Nelson. You can view an interesting interview with him below.”

To read the entire review, go here.