One of our Christmas traditions is making and eating LOTS of Tamales.
The day before Christmas Eve we made Tamales. We started at 10 am and finished at 10PM.
28 dozen Tamales.
This was supposed to be a post on my fabulous Tamale making (HA!)… about 1.5 hours into cutting the GORDO (see FAT) off of 25lbs of pork, this Gringa realized the job was too big to handle alone. That’s where I was secretly ecstatic that I got a call from Ruben’s parents letting me know that they were coming to “see if I needed any help with the chili”. Heck, Ya! I was in way over my head and I had bitten off more pork butt than I could chew. When Ruben Sr. walked in and took over my kitchen, I was very relieved! Christmas dinner was saved.
These days, Ruben’s folks are slowly letting go of control on this tradition, allowing us kids to learn how to make some of the crucial parts of the tamales and not only be a part of the assembly line. This year I learned so much, even my Father-in-Law’s secret chili recipe. I watched closely as he added palm full after palm full of salt, toasted sesame seeds, blended 5 different types of chilies together to create the perfect consistency. All while I tried to get it on film and write it down. He’d say “It’s all done to taste Mija, sometimes the chilies are bitter, sometimes they are hot. You just have to have the final product in your mind and adjust as you go.”
Ruben’s whole family (except Joe, who was missed) was at the house. Tommy really got in on the action this year, he is at his happiest when the family is together. I just love that about him.