Today I'm participating in a writing prompt by RemembeRED. — Recipe
This week, we’ve asked you to share with us a special recipe. But, we’ve asked you to do more than just list out ingredients. We challenged you to take us back…to take us into your memory, in 500 words or less.
A dash of memories
Sprinkles of love
A spoonful of warmth
That’s how I would describe the best recipe my grandmother ever gave me. But for you to understand, you would have to know that Christmas time in our household could only mean two things, lots of decorations and TAMALE time! For those not in the know, Tamales are a traditional Latin American dish made of masa (a starchy dough, usually corn based, which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. The wrapper is discarded before eating) Tamales can be filled with meats, cheese, vegetables, chiles, or anything you deem delicious. (See pic below)
As is customary during the holiday season, (at least in our home anyway) the making of tamales is a pretty big deal. Almost as big a deal as orchestrating Thanksgiving dinner! There were no better tasting tamales than the ones my grandmother used to make. Even now, almost eleven years since her death, I can close my eyes, let my mind drift to early Saturday mornings at abuela’s (grandma) house. She’d call all of her daughters and grandchildren and put all of us to work. Whether it be chopping, mixing, cutting or frying, everyone had a job to do. I loved those times the best. We worked and talked and laughed. And she’d tell us stories of her childhood, or how she met my grandfather. Sometimes, much to the rolling of the eyes of my aunts and my mom, she’d even tell us stories of how our mothers misbehaved while growing up. The time would pass by quickly. And soon, once the tamales were in the oven or on the stove cooking, we’d all seek reprieve in the living room while my grandmother made chocolate caliente (hot chocolate) for us. And then we waited for our labor to be nice and cooked, so we could devour our creations. We had tamales for the entire month of December it seemed. And sometimes, she’d get orders from other relatives or friends. She was always busy with orders. We worried that so much undertaking would take a toll on her faltering health. But she reveled in it. The holidays always make my heart ache for my abuelita. I would give anything to walk into her kitchen and see her standing over the stove, like always. Sometimes, when I go over her house now, if I inhale I can smell of the faint scent of her perfume and of the masa (dough), permeating the air. No greater recipe than that.