"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Tamales

My mother-in-law and I have been spending the last several hours making tamales from SCRATCH. Meaning, making nixtamal from dried Mexican corn and cal (lime, I think?) and then making the masa by running the slaked corn three times through my meat grinder (it still isn't smooth enough for her, but it's the best we can do) and mixing the ground corn with lard from my own pig.

The filling is more pork from my pig, boiled and shredded (the broth goes into the masa) and then mixed with two separate salsas - red and green. I mean, some of it is mixed with red salsa and some of it with green. Right now we are taking a small break while we let the corn husks soak, and then we will all sit around the table filling and folding and tying tamales. Then they have to steam for about two hours.

Then we can eat.

This process actually started last night (or last year, if you count raising the pig) when we put the corn to soak in the lime-water. I've wanted to learn how to make masa for years and years, and now I finally am learning. And learning what a hell of a lot of work it is. I really feel for those poor Mexican ladies in the days of yore who spent their lives bent over a metate (stone grinder).

I am taking careful notes and lots of pictures and I promise to put up a real recipe in a day or two. Meanwhile, I am giving thanks for having my family here and for everything I am learning from them in addition to making masa (like how to thread my sewing machine).

We are also enjoying the beautiful snowfall. My nieces have never seen snow and they have been having a wonderful time playing and making snowmen. Hope your holiday is as happy as ours!