We launched the Tamales cooking class early this year as a way to connect the community with other traditional Mexican dishes besides tacos. I am incredibly humbled by the positive response. So excited to continue sharing this special cooking class with you all in Japan. I look forward to continue offering this event and hope you join us!
I have decided to keep it a seasonal class to honor the traditions behind this preparation. Which will mean it will be available from December through early February.
A little background on the tamal.
Tamales is a dish that dates back to centuries ago. It is noted that ancient Mexicas would make this dish for the warriors as it was an easy food to transport. It was also considered a ritual food and was served as offerings to the gods. Long ago, tamales was not a common food and therefore not eaten by everyone.
Tamales are wrapped in various leaves such as corn husks, corn leaves, banana leaves, and other native leaves. They are made from corn masa and filled with different vegetarian and meat preparations and of course types of salsas.
Before tamales were prepared with only vegetables.It was until the Spanish arrived to Mexico that the dish evolved and integrated the use of pork and lard.
Tamales have been a staple food to Mexico for many generations, and today there are hundreds of different variations depending on the region and the family recipe.
So what makes tamales so unique and delicious? If you ask me if the tradition behind it.
Mexican and most Latin-Americans make this special dish during the winter time. The holiday season usually means tamales time.
Families gather to make the preparations for the holidays and tamales is one of the highlights.
During this time you can expect to sit in a big table with your aunts, primos, abuelas, parents, and friends, all ready to be delegated a task in the preparation of tamales or a tamaleada which translates to the act of making a tamales feast. Everyone shares stories, family secrets, and laughter while preparing the tamales. This is a task that must be done in family, taking it on alone can be quiet daunting and exhausting. The importance of making tamales together as one is what to me makes them so special.
This dish is one that requires patience, love, and trust. Without those three the tamalli (nahuatl the native language of the mexica for tamal) will be not feel taken care for and in turn not cook properly. That my friends is an abuela proverb.