Tamale showdown

For my family, the week after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of tamal season.
While everyone else is wheeling and dealing at the mall, my dad, Uncle Joe and mother-in-law are in their respective kitchens, rolling up their sleeves to begin the customary process. They each produce up to 30 dozen tamales – barely enough to last through New Year’s. The annual tamalpaloozas have created some of my favorite memories, and I always make it a point to stop by while the chefs are knee-deep in masa.
My Uncle Joe loves to show off his high-tech equipment.
“See, Kathy, this is the best way to make tamales,” he says, with a twinkle in his eye, as he pushes the “on” button. “Your dad still does it the old-fashioned way, with his hands. He should really try it this way.”
He then has me try a fresh tamal. I deem it among the best I’ve ever tasted.
Next is my mom-in-law.
“My tamales are good because I add an extra ‘special’ ingredient that no one else does,” she says proudly.
Then she invites me to sample a steamy offering.
“Hmmm, you’re right – these are delicious,” I say.
Then there is my dad, the tamal Jedi master. His are sleek in design and sharp on fiery flavor. Call me biased, but his are still my favorites. I haven’t mastered the art of tamal making yet, but I can make a mean corn husk wreath.

Love & light,


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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

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