It's Christmas Eve, and in the five years-plus that I've lived in Wisconsin, the one aspect of the season which I actually miss from living in the Southwestern U.S. is the endless flood of tamales.
For those of you unsure what exactly a tamale is, it's a meal consisting of masa (a starchy dough consisting of cornmeal or hominy), a protein (chicken, beef, seafood), chiles (red or green since that's for Christmas. Not really, it just works out that way) that's steamed inside a corn husk (or a leaf).
In El Paso, it's very traditional to not only make dozens and dozens for hosting family and friends, but also to give as gifts. Tremendous gift, since you can eat for days with all the tamales given to you without ever having to make yourself anything.
This article from the New York Times talks about the tradition of making tamales and the history of it.
As much as I enjoy traditional tamales, the ones which combine unusual proteins and chiles really gets me excited.
It's the same as a pizza, spring roll, crepe, or any other ethnic dish in my view. The traditionally made ones are good, but when creativity comes into play, that's when it becomes really special.
Merry Christmas to you and your family and take time to remember what this holiday is all about. Togetherness and caring for each other.