I’m so thankful for my recent opportunity to help Verify TV during their search to find the best tamales in North Texas. While it’s always a fun adventure to participate with them, this particular assignment meant a great deal to me personally.
It’s not Christmas until the tamales are made. For my family, and so many others, it’s a tradition that involves participation from everyone — in many ways a rite of passage.
I remember very clearly the day I was first allowed to help. It was at my Grandma Ollie’s ranch, and I must have been around six or seven. Sitting around the long counter right next to my Ma, I was handed an oja (corn husk) and a spoon.
My job was to spread masa on as many ojas as I could. I recall my Grandma helping me figure out how to hold the oja in my little hand.
There’s a distinct way to gently use the spoon to smooth out the masa in swift strokes. I was so frustrated at first.
I recall feeling like each oja took FOREVER to do!
But, I was at the table. And, that’s what mattered.
An assembly line of family members laughing, working, and celebrating an extraordinary culinary experience rooted in my heritage — a memory that would imprint on my heart forever.
To be able to continue the tradition — right next to my Ma and with Grandma Ollie at 99 years and still in charge of the crew — means everything to me and more.
Merry Christmas. May your own family traditions during the holiday season be as special to you as mine are to me.
*song used for entertainment only – no copyright infringement intended*