My family has always been big on tradition.  We observe religious, secular and ethnic traditions all year long.  We know the torch has been passed when we decide not to do something we have always done and one of the kids says, “are we going to do ….?”

This year it was our daughter-in-law.  She asked me a few weeks ago if we were going to make our Christmas tamales.  Frankly, I had decided not to, because I have been so busy and didn’t think I could find the time.   Ah, but the seed was planted, and I couldn’t let it die.  So, on December 7,  Sunday last, the familia and some amigas gathered together to combine homemade chili con carne with the freshly ground masa to make wonderful tamales.  What would our Christmas eve be without tamales?  That is our traditional food, so had we not done this, not only would the tamale-making tradition have been lost, but also the Christmas eve dinner.  Thank you, Paula, for saving the day!


The beautiful thing about this particular tradition is that it is truly a family activity.

Drying the ojas

The ojas (corn husks) are softened in water and then dried.  Some of the kids serve as runners to the table to deliver dried ojas for the tamaleros (tamale-assemblers)!


Looks like these guys are working really hard!


A little instruction for the first timers…


30 pounds of masa yielded us about 30 dozen tamales.  Christmas eve is saved and so is tradition!