Thursday, December 28, 2006

Eating Your Way Through the Holidays


Holidays in the Southwest

Every region has its own traditions, whether it is over the river and through to woods to grandma’s house in the one horse open sleigh, or in our more temperate weather cocktails amongst the cactus.  I foreswore snow after leaving Germany, though was lured to New Mexico – the part of NM I was in, though considered part of the Southwest, has snow.  Anyway, now safe at lower altitudes on the verge of the great Sonoran desert snow is something mothers use to frighten their children into behaving, as in “When I was bad my mother would leave me out on the snow for the wolves.”

The lack of snow is great, but another SW tradition is even better – Tamales.  Many Southwestern families get together in the kitchen and make tamales as part of the holiday festivities. The Christmas tamales generally have a piece of black olive in them.  While a Yankee I craved cheeseburgers, which accounts for my lithe physique, but now that I have adopted the SW my tastes have changed and I have become a tamale addict.  Mrs. Phos shocked me to my very core the other day when she told me she didn’t like tamales.  That may well be a big a sin as adding beans to chili in Texas. I still shudder at the words.  Pork, chicken or beef with green peppers wrapped in a masa cocoon and steamed in a corn husk – what’s not to like about that?  Hell they don’t even need sauce, though I wouldn’t refuse a tamale with a nice red chili sauce over the top.

You can have too many tamales, but they freeze well so no worries. I was really fortunate in that some friends  of my wife and I observe the tradition and also know that I never met a tamale I didn’t like. So I have had plenty of tamales to help me through the holidays. I would trade tamales for snow any day!

12 Comments:

At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love tamales! We don't get homemade tamales here in the Pacific northwest.

 
At 4:09 AM, Blogger Little Lamb said...

the catus you have pictured is cute.

 
At 4:20 AM, Blogger Chickie said...

Mmmmm....tamales....

The last time I had tamales they were from a gas station in Texas. They were suprisingly good.

 
At 4:56 AM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

l>t:What are some of your regional specialities?

LL:Cute perhaps, not terribly cuddly, though. Our dogs won't put up with us dressing them up, but he cactus can't get away!

chickie: My first brush with Tamles was in Panama and wasn't so great - the one I bought had chicken bones in it. I guess none of the chicken was wasted!

 
At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like tamales but it's hard to get the makers to be honest with me whether they use manteca or not. I usually have to buy the crappy kind from the grocery store with ingredients printed on the package.

BTW
That top picture looks exactly like my front yard when I lived in Albuquerque.

 
At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard of dressed up palm trees but dressed up cactuses? oh gee

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger /t. said...

phos,
great pic!

very festive!

tamales -- i hear ya, but they can't hold a candle to lamtales, bbq'd...

/t.

 
At 12:33 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

hammer:I lived in NM too - the trailerhouse part in Clovis. When I settled here in the Valley o' the sun I swore I woudl have nothign in my frnt yard that didn;t grow ehreoriginally. I laugh at my niehgbors whne they are out mowing their lawns.

/t.: Thanks, /t.!

I'd like a recipe for those lamtales, bet they are good!! Does LL have one? I'll get the grill fired up...

 
At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a part of Clovis that wasn't a trailer park?

Oh yeah, the other part was down at the Wal-Mart.

 
At 6:21 PM, Blogger Little Lamb said...

lamtales?

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

SL:There was shanty town as well...

LL: Have to ask /t. about that one!!

 
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