Los Tamales de Noche Buena

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at 8:43 AM
I'm just going to come right out and say it:  I make the world's best tamales.  I make them only once a year for Christmas Eve.  It takes me 3 days from start to placing them on the table but all the work is worth it when family and friends sit to enjoy them.
Tamales de chile have been my family's Christmas Eve tradition for generations.  I remember my grandmother's and mother's tamales and mine are just as good!  
Almost 20 years ago I asked my mother to write down the recipe.  I always helped her make them but didn't quite know the process involved in the preparation of ingredients.  She would say, "oh, there is no recipe, just watch."  So I did, and I took notes and when she died 9 years ago I sat and wrote a recipe booklet.  That booklet is now worn and stained and lives in a kitchen drawer coming out a couple of weeks before Christmas so I can get my shopping list ready.  But on Sunday when I came across the booklet I decided it needed to now become a real book.  That decision was confirmed when I was working on the part that involves the chiles.  For some unexplained reason my studio was permeated with the strong and pungent smell of dried chile peppers!!!  It only lasted a few seconds but I knew it was a message to me that the book is meant to be.
I am enjoying my new imac so much and on iphoto you can make a photo book which apple will print and mail to you.   I have a few more days to work on it and will have copies made for my family.  My sister's girls have been helping me the past few years and so I am happy knowing that one day when I too am gone; the tradition will continue.


  1. I wish I lived closer to you, Marta - I'd invite myself over for tamales!

  2. mw Says:

    hmmmm - something to share with the recipe swap next year, perhaps!

  3. Deborah Says:

    Tamales, a great family tradition. My son in law is from Mexico and I learned to make tamales with some of his close family friends. Such joy and love and fun go into tamales. I am glad you are carrying and passing on the tradition.

  4. I have never had tamales! I would be a volunteer to help, were I closer.

  5. Quilt Knit Says:

    Well, We do not have Tamales. So, now I feel completely in the dark and cold. This is not fair.
    How do you make Tamales?
    I just thought they were greasy corn husked wrapped awful tasting stuff sold by vendors on streets - that you knew better than to waste you money.

    ((( Circle of Recipe Hugs )))


  6. Desiree Says:

    I can't wait!!!

  7. Sharon Says:

    Oh my gosh! This is so exciting! My daughter makes some pretty good tamales, but I suspect yours are the real deal. Can't wait!

  8. Robyn Says:

    What a domestic goddess you are Marta! Such a charming photograph of you. I didn't even know what a tamale was - now I've looked it up I'm even more in awe of the trouble you go to. There will be great joy in your house this Christmas.

  9. Mim Says:

    Yum, yum - what fun.

  10. Wendee Says:

    Marta - do you mind if I add your tamale post(s) as a link to my Virtual Cookie/Nummy/Memories/Traditions (it's evolving) Exchange? See: http://thefridgedoor.blogspot.com/2007/11/virtual-cookie-exchange.html

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