Tamales, tasty little bundles of happiness

Every year my family and I have a tradition of making tamales to celebrate mid-winter. We all gather around the kitchen table that is covered in colorful bowls of fillings and masa dough, we laugh and talk as we scoop up handfuls of masa dough made from last years corn that we grew in our garden and spread a thin layer over a corn husk smoothing it with our fingers. After we have made all the tamales we place them in the steamer let them cook the whole house filling with the aroma of corn.

Tamales have a rich history, here are a couple of fun facts about tamales!

  1. The tamale is recorded as early as 5000 BC, possibly 7000 BC in Pre-Columbian history
  2. Tamales were eaten by warriors of the warring  tribes of the Aztec, Mayan and Incan peoples, because they are filling and portable.
  3. Tamale fillings can range from beans, beef, rice and cheese to frog, ant, gopher and banana. (can you imagine eating an ant tamale?)
  4. Commonly wrapped in cornhusks, banana and avocado leaves tamales can sometimes be wrapped in fabric or soft tree bark.
  5. In different regions tamales have different names


           Guatamala—————Paches and Chuchtitos

            Bolivia and



            Cuba, Mexico,

             South and Central


           Michoacan, Mexico—Coruda

             Veracruz, Mexico—-Zacahull


Steps to making tamales!!

Here is the corn before we nixtamalized it!


This is the corn after it has nixtamalized and ground!!
Here are the fillings the masa dough and the cornhusks!!
This is the masa dough spread on a cornhusk!
Here is the tamale with filling!!
These are the tamales wrapped up and ready to be steamed!
These are the finished tamales ready to eat!!

Next week I will be posting a tamale recipe on the recipes page!

I’m looking forward to this tasty tradition in the years to come!!

We love tamales so much this has become a family joke!





3 thoughts on “Tamales, tasty little bundles of happiness

  1. Hi Maizie!
    I learned that my dad was 1/2 Mohawk later on in his life. He taught me how to make a moose hide drum and we were going to make snowshoes but he entered end of life stages. I never did meet my grandmother or great grandmother who was like the midwife and only healer in the small town. I wonder about the missing feminine pieces so I turn to blogs like yours (my first time reading ) and Rowan’s to learn.
    Maizie, what does nixtamalized mean? I ground my own glass gem corn this year but when I baked it into cornbread the meal was hard like I was chewing sand.


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