What heritage puts green olives in tamales


The weblog is mmm-yoso. Together with another of us, Cathy, ed (from Yuma), and, in fact, Kirk are the writers. You’re a reader. In the present day, ed has an essential announcement – adopted by some pics and ideas about tamales.

It’s attending to be the season for tamales. Whereas individuals can eat tamales yr round, this wealthy and great meals is a centerpiece of the Mexican Christmas season. Proper on time, mmm-yoso has discovered that the small city of Somerton AZ (just some minutes south of Yuma on Hwy 95) can be internet hosting its second annual tamale competition. Here is a hyperlink to the competition’s web site.

Reading: What heritage puts green olives in tamales

Common readers of this weblog will acknowledge just a few issues on the web site. Not solely is there a hyperlink to mmm-yoso’s report on the primary version of this glorious competition, however lots of the pics on the web site come from this weblog. We’re flattered.

Anyway, mark your calendars proper now for Saturday, December 13, 2008. The competition begins at 11 am and can proceed till 10 pm. OMG, 11 hours of tamales! You be there as a result of mmm-yoso can be there too. Is the competition price a 3 hour drive from San Diego or Phoenix? Heck sure – that is in all probability the best assortment of assorted tamales obtainable anyplace anytime in america. And they’re all home-made. No eating places represented. Christmas procuring can wait; this feastival (pun supposed) is only for someday, December 13. Instructions and extra data might be discovered on the web site.

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The important a part of this blogpost is over, however ed (from Yuma) has been ruminating about tamales for some time, and needs to share with you common readers of mmm-yoso his ideas concerning the symbolism of this dish together with some photos taken ultimately yr’s feastival. (And yeh, ed was an English main).


We all know that almost all vacation meals have symbolic in addition to culinary significance. Take into consideration our Thanksgiving turkeys. We roast and serve this new world chook to commemorate the generosity of Native Individuals and the great harvests of our nation and to remind us concerning the tribulations and rewards of the early European settlers. Tamales, too, are deeply symbolic (in addition to tasty). Since I moved to Yuma, I’ve thought concerning the which means of tamales through the Christmas season. I do not declare to have all of the solutions, however I believe this favourite meals carries many messages.

IMG_0402 On probably the most fundamental stage, a tamal is like an edible doll – a meals practically human, a small physique wrapped in a cornhusk pores and skin. The flesh is the dense and wealthy corn meal masa. The central filling might be seen, from a organic perspective, as like an alimentary canal, a digestive system. However seen from a distinct, much less bodily viewpoint, the middle, the half that gives the uniquity of every explicit tamal, is like every particular person spirit, the distinct humanity possessed by each one in all us.

IMG_0404To conventional Christian believers, every tamale might be thought of a metaphor or image for the Holy Virgin. In spite of everything, each actual Mexican tamale should have an olive in it. On one stage, that olive represents the Christ baby ready to be born – as he’s yearly at Christmas. And from a extra new age viewpoint, the tamal may also signify any mom who carries seeds for the long run inside herself – in addition to the fertility of the fields and the bounty of the harvest. So we will see this meals as each the mom of God and the mom of us all. On nonetheless one other stage, the olive represents the promise of the brand new yr which can be reborn with the passing of the winter solstice, as days begin rising longer (proper across the time of Christmas).

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IMG_0409 The tamale, nevertheless, can be symbolic of Mexican tradition. Simply because the Virgin Mary has been transfigured into the Virgin of Guadalupe, so a tamal splendidly blends and shapes new world and outdated world and transforms European traditions into one thing totally different and extra advanced. The important thing ingredient of tamales is, in fact, maize. In america, we name it corn (the English time period for all grains), as a result of at first this Indian corn, this native ingredient, stored all of the peoples within the New World, natives and invaders each, alive. Mixed with this glorious product of pre-Mexican agriculture is one other New World addition, chilies. And most tamales add to these some bits of native tomato and one other new world staple, potato:

IMG_0418 Alternatively, apart from tamales made with turkey, the animal merchandise within the dish are European. The olive, as properly, is a product of Mediterranean civilizations. Every time I take into consideration this Spanish olive within the physique of native corn masa, I’m reminded concerning the Mexican legends of Cortez and his indigenous American girlfriends. In some very actual and particular methods, the Mexican individuals and the Mexican tradition are a mixture of the Spanish and the native, simply as is the tamale.IMG_0427 In a approach, tamales are a sacrificial dish as properly. A good friend discovered easy methods to make tamales. “So, I will get tamales every year?” I requested.

“Heck no, they’re really hard to make.” So each tamal represents the sacrifice of hours of the cooks’ time. To not point out that pigs and cattle have made the last word sacrifice.

Tamales then are really a primal and deeply important dish for the vacations. Vacation heritage and symbolism make it doubly essential that you just mosey on over to the Somerton Tamale Competition on December 13. It will style fairly good too!

Second Annual Somerton Tamale Competition, December 13, 2008, Downtown Somerton AZ

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